Motte castle 50m north east of Rochford church


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.

Malvern Hills (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 62932 68547

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 being damaged by natural erosion caused by the adjacent river, the motte castle on the south bank of the River Teme at Rochford survives well and is a good example of its class. It will preserve archaeological information relating to its construction and occupation. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed will survive sealed beneath the mound and in the ditch fill. The motte is one of a group of such monuments which lie along the valley of the River Teme, possibly positioned to guard crossing places. As such it offers important information relating to the political and strategic management of this valley during the medieval period.


The monument includes the remains of a small motte castle situated on the south bank of the River Teme and 50m north east of Rochford church. It includes an earthen mound 40m in diameter at the base rising 2.7m to a flattened summit 22m in diameter. The whole northern quarter of the mound has been eroded away by the action of the River Teme exposing a complete section through it. A shallow ditch averaging 7m wide and 0.4m deep, from which material would have been quarried for the construction of the mound remains visible around the surviving portion on the south west, south and east sides. There is a lowering of the ditch edge in the north west segment and a slight scoop in the castle mound directly opposite. There is no visible evidence of a bailey associated with the motte. However, cultivation lynchets can be recognised on the valley slopes to the south west of the motte, although these are not included in the scheduling. The parish church and the now derelict Court House Farm stand close by the motte, indicating that the area was a focus for the medieval agricultural community around Rochford. This area, largely through the church, continues to serve this function today. A post and wire fence crossing the south eastern quadrant of the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is ncluded.

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.

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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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