Earl Shilton motte and bailey castle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010302

Date first listed: 03-Oct-1975

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Jun-1992


Ordnance survey map of Earl Shilton motte and bailey castle
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Hinckley and Bosworth (District Authority)

Parish: Earl Shilton

National Grid Reference: SP 47038 98197


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Earl Shilton castle motte survives in good condition and will retain archaeological evidence of buildings within the interior.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Earl Shilton Castle lies on the northern edge of the village, west of the church. It comprises a motte and part of the bailey bank to the south. The circular motte is approximately 50m in diameter. It is flat-topped but has a considerable slope to the north. It is 3m high on the south side and 1.5m on the north. The remains of an encircling ditch and part of the bailey can be seen on the south side although the original dimensions have been obscured by modern development on the western side. The bailey bank to the south, rises to about 1m above the foot of the mound and is 50m long. The extent of the bailey enclosure is today probably reflected in the churchyard boundary. The castle was founded by the Earl of Leicester soon after the Norman Conquest and demolished in the late 12th century. Excluded from the scheduling is a fake stone gateway and wooden bridge erected on the south side of the motte, additionally the stone steps to the north of the monument are also excluded. However the ground beneath all these features 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: 17035

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cantor, L, 'Transactions of the Leicestershire Arch and Historical Society' in The Medieval Castles of Leicestershire (Volume 53), , Vol. 53, (1978)

End of official listing