The Mantle Walls

A Bishops Residence?

It is known from medieval documents that there was a bishops residence at Ancrum, belonging to William de Bondington, Bishop of Glasgow from 1232/3 until his death in 1258. Charters were signed there by King Alexander II on the 3rd of December 1236.

However, there are no references to where in Ancrum this residence was located. Evidence from both maps and documents tell us that there were ruins present in a field to the east of the village of Ancrum known as Mantle Walls. Could these have been the remains of the bishops residence?

Map showing the Mantle Walls Site

The image to the left is from the 1863 Ordnance Survey map and shows the site of Malton or Mantle Walls. Often, historic maps can reveal the locations of sites and buildings that are no longer here today.

Map reproduced with kind permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Where is the Mantle Walls site?

Below is a map of Ancrum and the red dot shows where the Mantle Walls remains are.

Mantle Walls (1).mp4

Mantle Walls Excavation

In September 2019, Ancrum and District Heritage Society and AOC Archaeology undertook excavations at the Mantle Walls site, the possible location of the medieval Bishops Palace. Check out the video on the left to see what we did and what we found!


The building uncovered during the excavations at the Mantle Walls site was adorned with beautiful stone architectural features. How do we know? From the two examples we found! These are pictured below. Ornate carved stones like these are common features on medieval Gothic structures such as palaces, churches and high-status buildings. For a little more on architecture, see the Architecture page!


What did it look like?

Using the information at the beginning of the page, from the excavation in the video, and the information about bishops residences from the Medieval Religion page try drawing what you think the Bishops Palace might have looked like! We know the building was large and built with stone, some of which was highly decorated. We think it may have been comprised of several buildings - not just the one. What would all of these buildings been used for? Label them as you go!