Montem Mound: a motte at Salt Hill, Upton-cum Chalvey
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Feb-2020 at 06:00:26.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Slough (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SU 96661 80042
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the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other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 some later modification, the probable motte at Salt Hill retains archaeological potential and survives well as a landscape feature with interesting historical associations with the Eton festival of Montem.
The monument includes the remains of a substantial mound situated alongside
Montem Lane, on the edge of a valley terrace overlooking a small stream.
Though the original form of the mound is somewhat obscured by later
modification, it has the appearance of a small motte, possibly constructed to
control a fording point. It is roughly circular in shape with a diameter of
28m and remains up to 6m high around the best preserved north-western half.
The south-eastern part of the mound is less well preserved, having the
appearance of being unfinished. In this area it rises as a series of three
low scarps to a total height of 3.7m. The flat summit of the mound has
dimensions of 7m north to south by 4m east to west. The site has historical
associations with Eton College as the focus of the Montem celebration, which
was observed triennially between the years 1561 and 1846. This ceremony,
peculiar to Eton, is reported to date from the foundation of the college. It
consisted of a procession of scholars, dressed either in military or fancy
costume, to a small mound at Salt Hill, on the south side of the Bath road.
Here they extracted money for salt from those present and from passers by.
The festival was abolished in 1846 by Dr Hawtrey.
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:
- Legacy System:
SU 90 SE 1,
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