Motte and associated earthworks east of Old Rectory


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011118

Date first listed: 19-Dec-1959

Date of most recent amendment: 28-Sep-1993


Ordnance survey map of Motte and associated earthworks east of Old Rectory
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Eccleston

National Grid Reference: SJ 41414 62777


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

The motte and associated earthworks east of the Old Rectory at Eccleston is one of a group of early post-Conquest mottes and motte and bailey castles forming a defensive system, the aim of which was to curb Welsh raids on the rich farming areas of Cheshire. Equally important was the role these sites played in imposing and demonstrating the new post-Conquest feudal order on the area.


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


The monument is a motte and associated earthworks strategically situated on a local high point overlooking the River Dee. The monument includes an oval earthen motte, or mound, mutilated on its eastern side, and partly surrounded by a ditch and bank with other earthen banks to the south and south-west. The motte measures 28m by 14.5m by 3m high and is flanked on its north and west sides by a ditch 8m wide and 0.3m deep, beyond which are faint traces of an outer bank 14.5m wide by 0.1m deep which continues in a south-westerly direction for a distance of approximately 17m. To the south of the motte, and running along the crest above the slope down to the river, is a bank measuring 23.5m long by 10m wide and 1.3m high.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 22591

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Watkin, W T, Roman Cheshire, (1886), 46
Ormerod, G, 'History of Cheshire' in History of Cheshire, , Vol. 2, (1882), 584,829
Cheshire County Council Planning, Laing, L, (1985)
Leach,P.E., MPP Single Mon Class Description - Motte and Bailey castles, (1988)
Ordnance Survey Card Ref. No. SJ46SW12, Ordnance Survey, Earthwork - Poss unfinished motte,

End of official listing