Castle Mound: a motte 40m north of St John's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012056

Date first listed: 09-Jan-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Sep-1992


Ordnance survey map of Castle Mound: a motte 40m north of St John's Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1012056 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2019 at 12:55:35.


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

County: Essex

District: Colchester (District Authority)

Parish: Mount Bures

National Grid Reference: TL 90454 32556


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Although the area of the bailey has been developed, Castle Mound is well preserved and will retain archaeological evidence pertaining to the occupation of the site and environmental information relating to the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.


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


The monument includes Castle Mound, a motte castle situated on high ground which slopes westwards to Cambridge Brook. The motte survives as an earthwork c.10m high and 61m in diameter surrounded by a ditch c.3.5m deep and between 10m and 12m in width. The ditch is dry except for a small area on the western side which is waterfilled. Also on the western side of the motte is a depression 1m by 0.5m by 0.5m deep which was probably caused by an unrecorded excavation. A bailey associated with the motte was once situated to the south and was traceable in 1960 along the western fence line of the graveyard. It is, however, no longer visible at ground level, having been overlain by development and is not included in the scheduling, although remains are believed to survive in the area of the churchyard. To the south-west of the motte, also outside the scheduling, is a rectangular-shaped area of earthworks which is considered to be the remains of a terraced garden for the Hall. The castle is believed to have been owned by the Sackvilles and built during the reign of either King Stephen or Henry I.

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: 20674

Legacy System: RSM


SMR No. 9161, Information from SMR (No. 9161),

End of official listing