Motte and Bailey Castle 200m North-West of Stowting Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012099

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Feb-1991


Ordnance survey map of Motte and Bailey Castle 200m North-West of Stowting Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Shepway (District Authority)

Parish: Stowting

National Grid Reference: TR 12249 42021


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 Stowting survives particularly well, and since it shows no signs of having been seriously disturbed it is of high archaeological potential. The unusual lowland siting of the castle adds to the diversity of such monuments in Kent, where most of the known examples occupy high ground.


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


The monument includes a motte and bailey castle which comprises a central steeply-sided earthen mound, or motte, surrounded by a broad ditch, with a second ditch defining an outer defended area, or bailey. The central motte has a roughly circular flat top measuring 35m in diameter. The large quantities of tile on the surface of the motte show that this area was used for buildings during the medieval period. Flint nodules embedded in the upper slapes of the mound suggest that the sides were paved in this material, perhaps simply for decorative effect. The ditch around the motte, which was supplied with water from the old course of the river on the western side, averages 12m in width and 1.3m in depth, although it has been partially infilled by soil eroded from the mound and would originally have been deeper. The position of the access bridge onto the motte is visible as a slight causeway across the moat on the north side. The bailey is a flat area of varying width which is raised above the level of the surrounding land by about 0.5m to reduce the risk of flooding. In this area would have been sited a wide range of buildings such as stables and workshops. The bailey was itself bounded by a second water-filled moat, this one 8-9m wide, which provided an outer line of defence. This moat has been infilled to a greater degree than the inner moat and survives only as a slight depression in the field on the northern side of the castle. The old river course on the western side was incorporated into this circuit and so is an integral part of the castle remains.

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: 12825

Legacy System: RSM


Leach, P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Motte & Bailey Castles, (1988)

End of official listing