Earthwork on Castle Hill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

Dorset (Unitary Authority)
East Chelborough
National Grid Reference:
ST 55156 05385


Motte and bailey castle 175m south-west 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle. Despite historic stone quarrying the motte and bailey castle 175m south west of Stake Farm survives comparatively well and is unusually closely associated with a second similar monument. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, interrelationship with a similar nearby monument, social, military and political significance, abandonment and overall landscape context.


See Details.


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 at the summit of the prominent Castle Hill overlooking several small tributaries to the River Yeo. The castle survives as an oval motte to the south west of an irregularly shaped bailey occupying the summit of the hill and defined by earthworks which survive differentially as both upstanding and partially buried features. The motte measures approximately 82m by 64m and stands up to 9m above the bailey. It has been damaged by historic quarrying. According to Hutchins, a clay-lined well or tank and various iron artefacts were found nearby. Cunnington carried out limited excavations and was told the motte had once supported a keep built from Forest Marble from a nearby quarry which had been dismantled by an earlier lord of the manor who used the stone to construct a farmhouse. A closely sited second motte and bailey lies to the north east and although the relationship between the two is not clear some sources have speculated the northern castle was earlier and that this castle was built as a replacement, although the situation may also reflect contemporary social and political differences. The second motte and bailey castle is the subject of a separate scheduling. Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are not included because they have not been formally assessed.


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

Legacy System number:
DO 449
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-195686


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.

End of official listing

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