Castle Hill, 150m north west of St Michael and All Angels Church
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008388
Date first listed: 19-May-1994
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Mar-2019 at 06:29:01.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish: Church Stretton
National Grid Reference: SO 46094 95935
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the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other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 castle on Castle Hill survives well and is a good example of its class. Its method of construction is unusual and demonstrates an efficient use of the natural strength of the hill to create a strategically powerful site with minimum use of material. The interior of the site is undisturbed and will contain archaeological material relating to the occupation of the site. The ditch fill will contain environmental material relating to the landscape in which it was constructed.
The monument includes the remains of a small earthwork castle situated on the
summit of Castle Hill, a small outlier to the east of the Long Mynd. The
position has been chosen for its strategic strength overlooking the main
north-south routeway as it passes through the Church Stretton fault. The
earthworks were designed to make maximum use of the natural defensive strength
of the hill. The summit of the hill has been cut back around the west, north
and east sides to form a steep scarp averaging 2.4m high with an outer berm or
terrace 3m wide. Both ends of the scarp terminate on the precipitous hillslope
which forms the south side of the enclosure. This artificial steepening of the
hill has created a roughly subrectangular motte with a level platform,
measuring 20m north to south by 22m east to west. The defences are
strengthened around the west side by an outer rampart 1m high on its inner,
uphill, side, merging with the natural slope to fall some 6m to a lower
terrace 4m wide. This rampart runs for some 18m before fading out at both ends
on the steepening natural hillslope. The lower terrace can be traced around
the end of the hill for some 22m before fading in a similar fashion. A slight
inturning in the scarp at its south east corner, along with a lowering of the
inner scarp at this position, is believed to represent the position of an
original entrance. To the immediate east of the earthworks is a flat area
bounded around its east and north sides by a low bank 1m wide and 0.5m high.
The bank, although superimposed on the adjoining earthworks, is included
within the area of the scheduling.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 19134
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County, (1908), 360
Hogg, , King, , 'Arch Camb' in Arch Camb, (1908), 98
OS card no SO49NE6, Chapman, D J C, (1972)
SMR Ref. 00231,
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