The Mount: a motte and bailey castle


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


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1010116.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 19-Jan-2021 at 10:21:11.


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

Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 02742 34291

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Flitwick Mount is an example of a smaller motte and bailey castle where both the major components are well preserved, and which has good archaeological and historical documentation. The location of the castle in Flitwick demonstrates the importance of the town as an administrative centre in early medieval England and illustrates the strategic role of the castle in establishing control of the area in the years following the Norman Conquest. The interior of the bailey and top of the motte will retain below-ground evidence of building remains, and the surrounding ditches contain silt deposits from which both environmental evidence and artefacts relating to the occupation of the castle may be recovered. The buried landsurface beneath the castle is of particular importance as it is thought to contain evidence of earlier Saxon occupation. The importance of the castle is further enhanced by its use as a public amenity area.


Flitwick Mount is a motte and bailey castle of figure-of-eight plan. The motte is an oval mound 30m by 15m across and 5m high. This is located in the western loop of the `eight' and is surrounded by a steep-sided ditch, 8m wide. The ditch itself is 3m deep, and further defence was provided by an outer bank which is now about 0.5m high. The motte would have supported a stout wooden tower and palisades would have been erected around the perimeter of the ditch. An outer court or bailey lay to the east formed by the second loop of the `eight'. The southern defences of the bailey are visible as a continuation of the ditch around the motte. The bailey was originally about 40m across and the line of the buried northern defences can be recognised as a slight ridge running round to link up with the motte on its northern side where the motte's defences are bridged by an entrance causeway. The motte and bailey are linked at the centre by a second causeway. Both causeways are about 5m wide. The short length of ditch between them formed a pond which is now dry, but would have been a source of water for the inhabitants. The bailey contained the service quarters and stores of the garrison. The Norman castle dates to around AD 1100 and it is thought that earlier Saxon remains are preserved beneath the earthworks. In the 19th century the monument was incorporated as a landscape feature within an ornamental garden, at which time the bailey ditch was partially infilled and a small summer-house was built on the motte. The summer-house is now demolished and leaves no visible remains. The surfaces of footpaths and all lamp-posts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is 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.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Brown, A, Fieldwork for archaeologists and local historians, (1987)
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Bedfordshire, (1908)
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Bedfordshire, Huntingdon and Peterborough, (1968)
Wadmore, B, The Earthworks of Bedfordshire, (1920)
CRO LL 4/4, (1793)
Fadden, K., SMR 228 ref.2, (1972)
pagination 187, Beds. Planning Authority Report, (1937)
Primary source for ref. 1 SMR 228, Brown, A and Taylor, C C, The Mount, Flitwick, (1980)


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].