Motte, moat and fishponds west of All Saints Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010495

Date first listed: 29-May-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Oct-1994


Ordnance survey map of Motte, moat and fishponds west of All Saints Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Harborough (District Authority)

Parish: Gilmorton

National Grid Reference: SP 56931 87758


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

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Gilmorton motte was either built within, or acted as a focus for, a later settlement. Although part of this settlement has continued in use to the present day with consequent disturbance of the earlier remains, earthworks survive in the area around the motte. These belong to part of the earlier settlement which was deserted as the village either shrank or shifted its focus. These earthworks include house plots and fishponds and, importantly, the location of a prestigious residence surrounded by a moat. Together, the remains of the motte and the shrunken village provide important evidence of the changing patterns of settlement in the Leicestershire medieval rural landscape.


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


The earthworks at Gilmorton lie west of the church and 3km north east of Lutterworth and consist of a motte castle, a moat to the north west, house platforms to the south and two fishponds below them. A prominent motte is situated adjacent to the church and comprises a flat- topped circular mound, approximately 3m high, 38m in diameter at the base and 25m at the top. It has a surrounding ditch, 8m wide and 1m deep, which is waterlogged on the south side and has been partly altered on the church side. A channel, waterfilled at one end and about 20m long, 7m wide and lm deep, leads off the motte ditch on the western side. A rectangular moat measuring 45m by 33m overall lies to the north west of the motte. The moat ditch is shallow but the southern and eastern arms contain water. The remainder of the moat has been largely filled in. A dry feeder channel leads off to the south but cannot be identified beyond the existing field boundary. A hollow way, 7m wide and 0.75m deep, leads south from the motte. Several house platforms are visible to the east of the hollow way. At the southern end of the hollow way are two rectangular fishponds aligned east-west. The western pond measures 12m by 9m and is 1m deep, and the eastern pond measures 8m by 25m and has a depth of 0.75m.

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: 17045

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume I, (1907), 258

End of official listing