Brackley motte and bailey castle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010660

Date first listed: 22-Oct-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Feb-1992


Ordnance survey map of Brackley motte and bailey castle
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2019 at 12:40:37.


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

County: Northamptonshire

District: South Northamptonshire (District Authority)

Parish: Brackley

National Grid Reference: SP 58183 36452


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Historical records show that Brackley became the second most important town in the county in the medieval period, and the motte and bailey castle would have played a very important role in the administration of the locality. The motte is the site of the early Norman castle, and has potential for providing vital evidence on the standing of the town from the beginning of the pre-Conquest period.


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


The motte and bailey castle lies on the south west of the town of Brackley. The monument includes the remains of a motte mound 3m high and approximately 40m in diameter with an outer bailey on its eastern side. The perimeter of the bailey is no longer visible but archaeological excavations have identified a ditch 7m wide at the eastern edge of the bailey near the existing boundary of the garden allotments. The ditch is considered to follow the line of Hinton Road to the north and the existing stream to the south. Two fishponds, identified as the Upper and Lower Fishponds, originally lay outside the bailey, but have subsequently been infilled. Brackley Castle was constructed soon after 1086, and may have gone out of use in 1174 when the estates of the Earl of Leicester were seized by the Crown. By 1230-40 it had lost its military standing as the site was granted to the Hospital of St John. The farm buildings on the site and made up roadways are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath 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: 13636

Legacy System: RSM


Foard, G, Brackley Castle. The evidence from Doc Sources & Trial Trenching, 1980, Draft Report supplied by SMR

End of official listing