Castle Hill motte, Malpas


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012105

Date first listed: 03-Nov-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Mar-1991


Ordnance survey map of Castle Hill motte, Malpas
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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: Malpas

National Grid Reference: SJ 48632 47239


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 castle at Malpas is of particular importance as one of a group of early post-conquest (c.1100) mottes forming a defensive system aimed at curbing constant Welsh raids on the rich farming areas of south Cheshire. Equally important, however, was the role these sites played in imposing the new post-conquest feudal order on the area. Whilst the bailey of this site has been destroyed, the motte itself remains in good condition and will retain considerable information relating to its date, use and method of construction.


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


The monument at Malpas comprises the remnants of a medieval castle surviving as a truncated earthwork cone, situated at a strategic position on a spur of the Broxton Hills overlooking the town and much of the surrounding countryside. The site was originally home to the Barons of Malpas. The motte lies N of St Oswald's Church, the graveyard of which extends to the S and W sides of the motte. A bailey was probably originally attached to the S side of the motte, but is now indistinct and its site has been considerably disturbed by construction of the church and burials in the churchyard. In view of the uncertainty over the precise location of the bailey and the disturbed nature of this most probable location it is not included in this scheduling. The motte is bounded by a hedge and chestnut fencing and these are excluded from the scheduling. The property boundary and the churchyard boundary to the SE, S and W of the motte are also excluded from the scheduling as is the tarmac lane to the E. The ground beneath all these features, however, is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 3 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: 13420

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cordon, M, Archaeological Implications - Malpas, (1979), 5
Cheshire SMR (RN 1689/2),
Leach, P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Motte & Bailey Castles, (1988)

End of official listing