Motte and bailey castle 650m NNW of Sandpoint Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

North Somerset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 32641 66044

Reasons for Designation

Motte and bailey 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-bailey 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 and bailey 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 or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 partial disturbance during World War Two, the motte and bailey castle 650m NNW of Sandpoint Farm survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The site is unusual in being positioned on a coastal promontory.


The monument includes a motte and bailey castle situated on the crest of a coastal promontory overlooking Sand Bay 650m NNW of Sandpoint Farm. The motte, known variously as Castle Mound and Castle Batch, is an artificial mound c.30m in diameter and c.2m high. It is situated within the south-west area of the monument and is surrounded by a rock-cut ditch c.8m wide from which material was quarried during its construction. The ditch is visible on the eastern side of the motte as an earthwork c.1.5m deep; elsewhere it survives as a buried feature. Adjacent to the motte is the bailey. This feature is defined by the ditch surrounding the motte in the west and the steep natural slopes of the hill to the south and north. To the east it is defined by the extent of visible earthworks. Numerous building platforms, some surviving to a height of c.0.5m, are visible in this area of the monument. The eastern area of the bailey has been partly disturbed by military activity, possibly dating from the Second World War.

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:


Mention of the names of the site, Mention of the names of the site,
Mention of Tudor associations/map, National Trust Archaeological Record,


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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