Motte and associated earthworks at Shackerstone


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Motte and associated earthworks at Shackerstone
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Nov-2019 at 10:48:32.


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

Hinckley and Bosworth (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SK 37490 06856

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 at Shackerstone, together with a fishpond, survive in good condition and, apart from some small scale excavation, the mound is essentially undisturbed and has considerable potential for the survival of archaeological evidence. It was later incorporated into a formal garden, some earthworks of which are included in the scheduling.


The monument at Shackerstone is situated on the north side of the village and includes a prominent motte, a fishpond to the north and traces of formal garden earthworks to the south. The motte measures 40m in diameter at the base, has a flat area 20m across on the top and is approximately 4.5m high from the bottom of the ditch. The ditch encircles the mound with the exception of a 12m stretch on the south- west, and is up to 2m deep and 6m wide on the south-east side and 1m deep and 8m wide on the north side. A water-filled fishpond measuring 70m long and 12m wide, formerly connected by a channel to the motte ditch, is situated on the north side of the motte. A linear scarp, 1m high, which runs south from the motte ditch on the western side and a 15m long scarp to the south, are the remains of formal garden earthworks relating to a hall which stood to the south of the site. A ditch 3m wide and 0.3m deep which drained the motte ditch on the western side, runs north for 38m before it is altered by later landscaping. A 35m length of bank 1.5m high which was part of the garden earthworks stands to the east of the motte and formerly joined the fishpond. The dam constructed of breeze blocks at the east end of the fishpond is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included. Wartime activity in 1940, during which the motte was disturbed, revealed evidence of a central post about 350cm in diameter.

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:
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Books and journals
Nichols, J, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicestershire, (1811), 909
Leicestershire Sites and Monuments Record, (1940)


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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