Oliver's Battery: a motte and bailey castle at Old Basing

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010866

Date first listed: 30-Nov-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 18-May-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Oliver's Battery: a motte and bailey castle at Old Basing
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: Hampshire

District: Basingstoke and Deane (District Authority)

Parish: Old Basing and Lychpit

National Grid Reference: SU 66804 53518

Summary

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

The motte and bailey castle at Old Basing is well preserved, remains largely undisturbed and is a good example of its class. The site will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the date and method of construction of the castle, its period of use and subsequent abandonment.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a motte and bailey castle overlooking the River Loddon at Old Basing. The castle is on quite steeply sloping ground, c.90m south east of the river, and has maximum dimensions of 156m (north to south) by 140m. The motte is situated at the north west corner of the site. A ditch up to 10m wide and 2.5m deep runs from the north east corner along the eastern and southern sides of the sub-rectangular bailey. The southern ditch is flanked by an internal bank up to 5m wide and generally not more than 1m high, although at the south western corner of the site it rises to a height of 2m. No clearly defined eastern bank is recognisable. The northern and western edges of the bailey are marked by a noticeable fall in ground level but no ditch or bank is visible. The bailey may have been divided into two areas of approximately similar size by an east to west bank, a remnant of which survives as a low mound at the eastern side of the site. The motte, c.40m in diameter and up to 1.6m high, is on the lower part of the site, near the north western corner. North of the motte, the bailey extends beyond the projected line of the ditch from the north eastern corner. The castle's date of construction is unknown, although the Domesday Book shows a short-lived fall in the value of the land and manor of Basing between 1066 and 1086; a similar fall elsewhere has been attributed to the construction of a castle and this may also be the case here. It has also been suggested that the castle may have been superseded by the larger stronghold at Basing House, or may have been a siege castle associated with it. All fencing, litter bins, signs and associated posts, concrete and wooden seats and the wooden bridge crossing the southern ditch are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 24337

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Hughes, M F, 'Landscape Hist' in Hampshire Castles and the Landscape 1066-1216, (1989), 33
Hughes, M F, 'Landscape Hist' in Hampshire Castles and the Landscape 1066-1216, (1989), 56
Other
Ordnance Survey, SU 65SE 4, (1956)

End of official listing