Motte and bailey castle 120m east of Stake Farm.
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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle. The motte and bailey castle 120m east of Stake Farm survives comparatively well and is closely associated with a second similar monument immediately to the south west which is unusual. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, interrelationship with the similar nearby monument, social, military and political significance, abandonment and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 20 January 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument includes a motte and bailey castle situated on the upper east facing slopes of a ridge overlooking the valleys of two tributaries to the River Yeo. The castle survives as an oval mound or motte measuring up to 45m long by 27m wide and standing between 1.5m and 4m high to the west of a scarp slope which averages 6m wide and from 1m up to 2m high representing the edges of the large irregularly shaped bailey. The surrounding ditches are preserved as buried features. A second similar monument lies close to the south west. Some sources speculate that this castle was abandoned because of the wetter conditions of this site in favour of the replacement castle to the south west, although the exact relationship between the two is unclear and may reflect contemporary social and political differences. The second motte and bailey is the subject of a separate scheduling.