Motte and bailey 360m N of Harthill Bank
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 25-Nov-2020 at 00:45:08.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SJ 56739 71870
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were superseded by other types of castle.
Despite limited sand quarrying the monument survives well, its earthworks being particularly evident. The lack of subsequent occupation of the site means buried structural remains and environmental evidence are likely to survive well.
The monument comprises a motte and bailey castle. It includes a central
mound measuring 32m N-S x 12m E-W x 3-4m high, surrounded by an encircling
ditch 1.8m deep x 7.6m wide. A horseshoe-shaped outer bank 3-4m high with an
entrance at the S encircles the motte and ditch. A causeway gives access from
the outer bank across the ditch to the mound on the SW side. To the SE is a
raised level bailey 54.8m long x 27.4m wide.
The area to the S and E has been used for sand extraction and there is
evidence for this industry having encroached upon the motte.
The area was referred to in 1277 as a stew (vivary) called Ocmere.
A field boundary on the W of Gallowsclough Lane is excluded from the
scheduling, however, the ground beneath it is included.
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:
- Legacy System:
Capstick, B., FMW report, (1988)
Hartley, RA, AM7, (1972)
Leach, P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Motte & Bailey Castles, (1988)
Record No. 928, (1988)
Snowdon, C.A., AM 107, (1988)
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing