Misarden Park motte and bailey castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Location Description:
Approximately 250m north of Misarden Park Lake at SO9437009256.


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

Location Description:
Approximately 250m north of Misarden Park Lake at SO9437009256.
Stroud (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 94370 09256


The earthwork and buried remains of a medieval motte and bailey castle, with a particularly impressive motte.

Reasons for Designation

The Misarden Park motte and bailey castle is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: the castle survives well, particularly the motte earthwork, and is likely to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, military and political significance, re-use and abandonment; * Potential: early investigations were of a partial, limited nature. The castle therefore demonstrates clear potential for nationally important undisturbed archaeological deposits; * Group Value: with the nearby Grade II* contemporary C11 & C12 church of St Andrews (NHLE 1091221).


There is a great deal that we still do not know about the origin of castles in England and in France in the 11th century, but social conditions had given rise to powerful families, the existence of which greatly facilitated the establishment of castles, for a castle was a visible manifestation of personal status and authority. Immediately after the Norman Conquest, these earthwork and timber strongholds were rapidly built across the face of England, in a variety of strategic positions, and proved to be very effective as a means of subjugation and control.

Motte and bailey castles comprise a large conical mound of earth or rubble, known as the motte, which was 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.

Documentary resources indicate the Misarden castle was first recorded in 1146 but ceased to be occupied from 1266 to 1289. It was replaced by a manor in the 14th century and was destroyed during the Wars of The Roses.


This monument includes a motte and bailey castle situated on the sloping ground of a rocky promontory produced by a meander in the River From and overlooking a natural ford. The motte survives as an oval mound of approximately 40m long, 34m wide and 10m high surrounded by a massive rock cut ditch of up to 10m wide and 6.1m deep with a bailey to the west defined by natural scarps and slight banks on all except the western side where it is defined by a rampart bank of up to 13m wide and 2.1m high with an outer ditch of 1.9m deep. Traces of masonry curtain wall survive on the motte as well as the base of a shell keep. Excavations in 1907 and 1915 revealed a gatehouse at the foot of the motte, other masonry remains and finds of 13th century date including ridge crest tiles.

The motte and bailey castle lies within the Grade II* Registered Park (1765) of Misarden Park.


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

Legacy System number:
GC 63
Legacy System:


Introduction to Heritage Assets: Earthwork Castles, English Heritage, May 2011,


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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