Kingsland Castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Location Description:
The monument lies west and south of the Church of St Michael and All Angels.


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
The monument lies west and south of the Church of St Michael and All Angels.
County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


The earthwork and buried remains of a motte and bailey castle, with associated features.

Reasons for Designation

Kingsland Castle, a motte and bailey castle with associated features, is scheduled for the following principal reasons: * Survival: the castle survives well with a prominent motte, two large baileys, a further bailey and a possible fishpond, comprising a highly significant site which is likely to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its history, construction, use and development; * Potential: the monument has clear potential for the discovery of nationally important undisturbed archaeological deposits; * Group value: the site has strong group value with the adjacent Grade I listed Church of St Michael, which retains C13 fabric.


Motte and bailey castles are among the most familiar of defensive sites dating from the early Medieval period, with over 600 sites recorded nationally. Following the Norman Conquest, these earthwork and timber strongholds were built rapidly across England in a variety of strategic locations, often associated with towns or villages. They were the homes and power base of the most influential families, and were a physical manifestation of their authority.

The composition of motte and bailey castles consists of a large mound of earth or rubble, the motte, generally surmounted by timber and later stone structures including a lookout tower, and the bailey or baileys. The bailey was an embanked enclosure which contained the domestic and communal accommodation. Where there is more than one bailey, these possibly had a separate function, such as the accommodation of livestock.

Motte and bailey castles are known in most regions of England, and are of particular importance to the study of Norman Britain and the development of the feudal system. Although many were occupied for a relatively short period of time, motte and bailey castles continued to be built and occupied from the C11 to C13, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Kingsland Castle is thought to date from the early-mid C12 and to have been the seat of the de Braose family. It is thought to have been out of use or of lesser importance by the mid-C15; it is not mentioned in any accounts of the Battle of Mortimers Cross which took place nearby. Writing in the C16, the King's Antiquary John Leland wrote of, "a castle at Kingsland...the ditches wherof and parte of the keep be yet seen by the west parte of Kyngsland church".


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS The monument includes a motte and bailey castle with associated features situated on relatively flat ground west of the Church of St Michael.

DESCRIPTION The motte survives as an oval mound about 56 metres across at its greatest extent, and approximately 6 metres high. It is surrounded by a wide ditch, with separate baileys to the north and east. Partially-buried stone foundations of a shell keep are said to have been visible in the past.

The northern bailey is roughly semi-circular in form and is approximately 110 metres long at its greatest extent. It is divided from the eastern bailey, of approximately 95 metres and more irregular in shape, by a transverse ditch. Beyond the eastern bailey is a further enclosure, with a wide ditch clearly visible to the south and east, and one to the north visible in aerial photographs. Some ridge and furrow has also been identified within this area.

To the west of the southern bailey and across the stream is a rectangular sunken area, which may have been a fishpond.

EXCLUSIONS All modern tarmac paths, railings, gates and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.


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

Legacy System number:
HE 103
Legacy System:


Herefordshire Through Time, Historic Environment Record number 340, accessed 24.07.16 from
Pastscape Monument number 108522, accessed 25.07.16 from
Historic England, Introduction to Heritage Assets: Earthwork Castles (May 2011)


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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