Motte at Tregate Castle Farm
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005338
Date first listed: 01-Jan-1969
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This copy shows the entry on 20-Mar-2019 at 11:24:36.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SO 47970 17149
Motte castle 85m south west of Tregate Farm.
Reasons for Designation
Motte 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-bai1ey 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 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 and motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. Some 100-150 examples do not have baileys and are classified as motte castles. 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 subsequent landscaping and re-use the motte castle 85m south west of Tregate Farm survives comparatively well and will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, social, political and strategic significance, abandonment, re-use and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 28 May 2015. The 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.
The monument includes a motte castle situated on a ridge forming the north eastern valley side of the River Monnow which at this point marks the border between England and Wales. The castle survives as a motte which stands as a circular mound measuring 53m in diameter and from 3m up to 6m high surrounded by a partially buried outer ditch which is most clearly visible to the north west.
Partial excavations carried out in 1970 and 1980 along with accompanying field surveys produced finds of 12th century pottery which indicated that the motte was probably part of a timber and earthen structure which was not occupied for more than 100 years or so. Although some masonry walling was observed, it was thought the construction of the 15th century farmhouse (Listed Grade II, 153953) may have become a fortified farmhouse similar to a bastle in the border region of England and Scotland.
A possible bailey to the south east of the motte formed by three roughly rectangular terraces defined by lynchets and a ditch and medieval fish ponds are not included in the scheduling because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: HE 172
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape 107593, Herefordshire SMR 933
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