Motte and bailey castle 160m north of Castle Mill Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Dorset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SY 52116 95855

Reasons for Designation

Motte and bailey castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain by the Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the motte, surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. In a majority of examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey, adjoined the motte. Motte castles and motte-and-bailey castles acted as garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte and bailey castles generally occupied strategic positions dominating their immediate locality and, as a result, are the most visually impressive monuments of the early post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape. Over 600 motte castles or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. As one of a restricted range of recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important for the study of Norman Britain and the development of the feudal system. Although many were occupied for only a short period of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle. Despite quarrying, the motte and bailey castle 160m north of Castle Mill Farm survives comparatively well and has a well-documented Royal history. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, social, political, strategic and economic significance, longevity, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.


The monument includes a motte and bailey castle situated on the summit of the prominent Castle Hill, overlooking the valleys of the Mangerton River and a major tributary to it. The castle survives as a slightly oval motte mound of approximately 45m by 42m and up to 6m high. It is surrounded by a semi circular ditch, the northern part of which falls away on a natural steep slope. To the south and east is a kidney-shaped inner bailey defined by a rampart bank up to 4.5m high divided from the larger outer bailey to the west by a cross bank. The large outer bailey is demarcated by a rock-cut ditch of up to 2m deep with a slight rampart bank. Both the baileys and motte have been subject to some quarrying. Partial excavations in 1840 revealed a midden which produced pottery, animal bones, a spur and a horseshoe. It is known locally as Powerstock Castle. Constructed in the 11th to 12th centuries, the castle formed part of 'Poorstock' belonging to the barony of the Newburgh family until it was acquired by King John in 1205. The 'King's Houses' were completed in 1206-7 and were probably constructed in the bailey. King John is known to have stayed at the castle at least four or five times. Henry III stayed in 1230. The manor passed into the private hands of Sir Ralph Gorges in 1266.

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-450881


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
DO 25
Legacy System:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

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