Castle Hills: a motte and bailey castle 700m NE of St Mary and All Saint's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011367

Date first listed: 12-Feb-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Oct-1994


Ordnance survey map of Castle Hills: a motte and bailey castle 700m NE of St Mary and All Saint's Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

District: North Warwickshire (District Authority)

Parish: Fillongley

National Grid Reference: SP 28495 87729


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Castle Hills survives well and is a good example of a motte and bailey castle. Documentary references indicate that the site dates to the early medieval period and was occupied for only a short time. This will ensure that archaeological deposits from this period will not have been disturbed by later buildings on the site. Structural and artefactual evidence will, therefore, be preserved beneath the ground surface within the castle providing important information for the economy of the castle's inhabitants.


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


The monument includes the motte and bailey castle and an area of ridge and furrow cultivation. It is situated to the north east of the village of Fillongley and approximately 90m north east of Berryfields Farm.

The motte and bailey castle is located on fairly low-lying ground and has been built adjacent to a small tributary of the Didgley Brook. The motte is situated at the northern end of the bailey and has been artificially raised. The flat-topped motte is oval-shaped and there is a slight gradient on its summit from north east-south west. The motte measures 54m north west-south east and 45m north east-south west and it is up to 4m high. There is an earthen bank around the outer edge of the motte's summit forming part of its defences. The bank rises approximately 2m above the surface of the motte. The northern, eastern and southern sides of the motte are defended by a 12m wide ditch. There is no surface evidence for a ditch to the west of the motte. The ditch may have been infilled and will survive as a buried feature, although it is possible that the stream channel provided a natural defensive feature along the western edge of the motte. The southern part of the motte ditch separates the motte from the bailey to the south west.

The bailey has a rectangular plan and covers an area of 0.35ha. It is slightly raised above the surrounding land and its surface is mostly level. The bailey ditch is approximately 7m wide and is best preserved along its eastern side. There is a small pond at the southern corner of the bailey and, as a result, there is no surface evidence for the inner edge of the ditch in this area. The southern bailey ditch has been infilled but it remains visible as a shallow depression. There is no surface evidence for a ditch along the western edge of the bailey and here again the river channel may have been incorporated into the defences. Access to the motte and bailey castle is currently by means of causeways at the NNW and SSW edges of the site. The SSW causeway is thought to mark the site of the original entrance.

To the north and north east of the motte and bailey castle are the earthwork remains of ridge and furrow cultivation. The ridge and furrow respects the castle defences and this relationship illustrates the impact of the castle on the land use of the surrounding area. A 20m wide sample area of the ridge and furrow is included in the scheduling in order to preserve this relationship. The motte and bailey castle was known as 'Old Fillongley' during the reign of Henry III(1216-72), indicating that the castle had probably been abandoned by this time.

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: 21546

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Gardner, W, The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire: Fillongley, (1904), 375
Chatwin, P B, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Fillongley, , Vol. 67, (1947), 23

End of official listing