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:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1007936.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 01-Dec-2021 at 22:19:05.


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

Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)
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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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:
Legacy System:


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].