The Mount: a motte castle in Stebbing Park


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.

Uttlesford (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 65794 24383

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 limited excavation, Stebbing Mount motte is well preserved and will retain information relating to the building of the mound and the medieval structures that occupied it. Additionally, environmental evidence is thought to survive, particularly in the lower silts of the waterfilled moat. Such evidence provides some indication of the environment within which the motte was built and the economy of its inhabitants.


The monument comprises a motte castle situated on a prominent west-facing spur in Stebbing Park, 750m north-west of the church. It includes a circular earthern mound which measures 69m in diameter at its base, 15.5m in diameter at its summit and is c.13m in height. Surrounding the motte is a waterfilled moat which has a maximum width of 15m and is c.1.5m in depth. Originally a narrow causeway on the west side of the moat gave access to the motte but sometime in the last ten years this has been excavated to form a continuous moat and access is now via a small wooden bridge. The manor at Stebbing was held by Henry de Ferrers. During the latter part of Stephen's reign, the then owner, Ralf, the Earl of Chester, fled leaving his estates in the King's hands. There are references to an excavation of the motte by R Armitage, though no date is recorded and no details known. Excluded from the scheduling are the concrete water tank, the concrete and brick remains of an air raid shelter and the wooden footbridge but the ground beneath these features is, however, 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.

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Books and journals
Information from Moated Sites Research Group cards
Information from SMR (No 1179),


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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