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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle. The motte castle 150m SSW of Allesley Hall survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, political, social and strategic significance, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.
The monument includes a motte castle, situated on the upper north-facing slopes of a ridge forming the watershed between the valleys of two tributaries to the River Sherbourne. The motte survives as a roughly circular mound measuring up to 45m in diameter and surrounded by a ditch of up to 13m wide and 1.5m deep with an outer bank of up to 4m wide on the southern side. In the ditch are concrete bases possibly for bridges. It is known locally as 'Allesley Castle' although there are no clear documentary references to this motte. A building on the north side of the motte is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.
Sources: PastScape 334132