The Toot: a motte and bailey castle and later manorial complex 450m south west of St Mary's Church
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007936
Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981
Date of most recent amendment: 23-Dec-1991
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)
Parish: Shenley Church End
National Grid Reference: SP 82886 36454
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the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other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 monument known as the Toot includes not only the remains of a motte and bailey castle but also the earthwork remains of a manorial complex. This provides a high potential for the recovery of archaeological remains, which represent the continuous development of the site throughout the medieval period. There is evidence to suggest that occupation was continuous from the 12th century to the 18th century. The monument survives well and includes areas where waterlogging provides the potential for the survival and recovery of organic and environmental remains.
The monument includes a motte and bailey castle with associated outer
earthworks. It is situated at the northern end of a small ridge running
north-south and commanding a strong strategic position with extensive views in
all directions. The motte survives as a circular earthen mound 1.3m high and
36m in diameter. Surrounding the motte is a ditch 2.4m deep and averaging 5m
wide. This has been adapted in part to form a sub-rectangular pond 46m long
and up to 16m wide around its northern portion. In its original form there is
believed to have been an attached bailey, most likely situated to the north.
Though not identifiable on the ground, this may survive as a buried feature
beneath later earthworks associated with a manor house and grounds. These
earthworks comprise two large ditched or moated enclosures, the most westerly
being the more substantial. This is bounded on its western side by a large
partly water-filled linear pond up to 2m deep and representing a later
ornamental adaptation of part of the earlier moat. At the centre of this
enclosure a rectangular building platform may represent the site of a house
reported to have been demolished in 1774. The monument therefore represents
the various phases of the site's development from a small but defensively
strong motte and bailey castle, to a more extensive and prestigious manorial
complex. The modern balancing reservoir set into the linear bank at SP82843642
and all fences and the building known as Stag Lodge are excluded from the
scheduling, though the ground beneath these features is included.
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: 19003
Legacy System: RSM
SMR no 3639, Bucks SMR, The Toot, Motte and Moats,
SMR no. 3639, SMR Bucks, The Toot, Motte and Moats,
Title: The Toot Source Date: Author: Publisher: Surveyor: NAR No: SP 83 NW 11
Title: The Toot Source Date: 1969 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: NAR NO: SP 83 NW 11
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