Motte castle 390m south east of Upper Lye 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 tree growth the motte castle 390m south east of Upper Lye Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, social, political, economic and strategic 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 castle situated close to the summit of a steep ridge which forms the northern valley side of the River Lugg. The motte survives as a circular mound measuring up to 36.5m in diameter and 6m high with an encircling rampart on the summit standing up to 1.5m high indicating a probable tower or shell keep. To the north and east of the motte there is a wide ditch up to 3m deep and on the remaining sides defence is provided by the steep natural river valley slopes. The castle was founded by Hugh Mortimer in around 1144 to 1154.