Motte and bailey castle, 65m WSW of Castle House.
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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 65m WSW of Castle House is a well documented and extremely important Welsh border castle and has seen a pivotal role in many border skirmishes and national conflicts. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, social, political, territorial, strategic and economic significance, domestic arrangements, adaptive re-use, abandonment and overall landscape context.
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 situated between several small tributaries draining the wide mature valley of the River Wye. Known locally as ‘Eardisley Castle’ it survives as a roughly circular motte measuring approximately 30m in diameter and 4.2m high with a roughly oval shaped bailey to the north east which is partly surrounded by a wet moat or ditch and in part by a buried ditch. Further enclosures to the west and south west are defined by other streams and banks may represent the outer bailey. The earthworks are complicated because a later fortified house was built on the same site. Buried foundations to a round tower on the summit of the motte, a possible D-shaped tower and lengths of curtain walling have also been reported.
The castle has a rich documentary history: it was described in Domesday (1086) as a ‘domus defensabilis’ belonging to Roger de Lacy; was known to have been strengthened by 1183; it is mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of 1182-5 and 1209; is found in a list of castles in 1216; was plundered during the Welsh Rebellion of 1262; in 1263 the owner Roger de Clifford imprisoned the Bishop of Hereford, Peter de Aquablanca in the castle; in 1272 it became the chief residence of the Baskerville family who were granted permission to hold services in the chapel; by 1372 it was recorded as ruinous; in 1403 Henry IV ordered it to be re-fortified against Owain Glyn Dwr; in 1642 still held by the Royalist Baskerville family it was burnt down during the Civil War. Excavations in 1994 produced medieval pottery and tiles, daub and other artefacts, including a flint and a Roman pottery sherd.