Motte at Hampstead Norreys, 250m south-west of St Mary's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007927

Date first listed: 25-Oct-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Feb-1993


Ordnance survey map of Motte at Hampstead Norreys, 250m south-west of St Mary's Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Hampstead Norreys

National Grid Reference: SU 52891 76006

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 at Hampstead Norreys survives well and can be related to other features which formed part of the medieval landscape, including a manor site and the village with its parish church.


The monument includes the remains of a small motte situated at the northern end of a low spur above the village of Hampstead Norreys. It stands on the eastern slope of the spur, below the crest and overlooking the valley of the River Pang. The motte is some 25m in diameter and stands to a height of 4.2m. There is a well defined surrounding ditch, 5m wide and up to 1.7m deep, from which material was quarried during the construction of the mound. The whole summit is hollowed to a depth of 0.6m, possibly indicating that it may have been built up around a central wooden tower, no visible trace of which remains. The siting of the motte appears designed to control a crossing point and convergence of routeways.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 19014

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing