Motte and bailey, N of Old Castleton


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.

County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 28379 45694


Motte and bailey castle 120m north of Old Castleton.

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 north of Old Castleton survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, social, political, economic and strategic significance, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, trade, abandonment and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 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.

This monument includes a motte and bailey castle with two further outer baileys situated on a natural spur surrounded by a stream above the floodplain and immediately south of a meandering section of the River Wye. The castle survives as a series of distinct and clearly defined earthworks. The motte is a circular flat topped mound measuring up to 40m in diameter topped with the buried foundations of a stone built polygonal tower. A crescent shaped bailey situated to the south measures 60m east to west by 40m north to south and is defined by a pronounced rampart bank from 11m to 20m wide and from 2m to 4m high on all except the north side with an outer ditch of up to 10m wide and 3m deep.

On natural embankments which have been artificially enhanced to both the east and western sides of the bailey are two further outer courts or baileys measuring approximately 80m by 40m and the eastern most is divided from the rest of the spur on which the castle is located by a 13m wide and 2m deep ditch. The entrance to the castle is on the southern side. The foundations of several stone built structures and parts of the curtain walls have been noted within the bailey and a topographic and documentary survey was undertaken in 2002.

The name of ‘Clifford’ is attached to this area in Domesday but the present castle is believed to have been the work of William FitzOsbern and thus is closely dateable to between 1067 and 1070. Pottery recovered from spoil connected to a badger sett is known to date to prior to 1100. The name of ‘Castleton’ has also been applied to the motte and bailey in the past and it is known to have been owned by de Tosini in 1086.

Water meadows occupy the floodplain to the north of the castle but these are not included in the scheduling because they have not been assessed.


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

Legacy System number:
HE 44
Legacy System:


PastScape 104842, Herefordshire SMR 1015


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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