Motte and bailey castle 200yds (180m) SW of Newcourt Farm
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005350
Date first listed: 12-Aug-1974
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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 37122 33568
Motte and bailey castle 160m south west of Newcourt 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle. In Wales during this period castles were also being erected which were generally on a smaller scale and began as simple defended enclosures in prominent locations and which gradually adopted the stone keep and bailey of their Norman counterparts. They are no less impressive structures often with striking stone keeps, fore buildings and halls within an outer defensive enclosure. The motte and bailey castle 160m south west of Newcourt Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, origin, function, strategic, political and social significance, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 21 May 2015. 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. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.
This monument includes a motte and bailey castle situated on the tip of a projecting spur on a steeply sloping ridge forming the watershed between the valleys of the River Dore and one of its tributaries. Also known locally as ‘Newcourt Tump’ the castle survives as a triangular shaped enclosure defined by two artificially enhanced natural scarps with berms to the north and east and by an outer ditch of up to 3m deep with a steep partly stone faced rampart of up to 7m high on the western side surrounding a number of interior earthworks. The bailey area contains a roughly rectangular mound measuring up to 2.4m high in its eastern angle which has the largely buried remains of a rectangular tower defined by masonry wall footings and a central depression which some sources suggest has an apsidal garderobe or stair turret. Elsewhere within the bailey are the masonry footings for at least two further rectangular structures which are variously interpreted as the keep, hall and gateway. There are many questions regarding this strategically significant medieval structure and whether it is of Norman or Welsh origin is a matter for conjecture since it is similar in plan to the ‘native Welsh castle’ of Dolbadarn for example but could also quite easily have been a Norman motte and bailey which has been subsequently modified as a later fortified house for example and hence contains a more rectangular shaped motte than might otherwise have been expected. There are currently no known documentary references to the castle but it does appear to have been abandoned by the 14th century.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: HE 196
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
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