Castle Hill motte and ditch system, Oldcastle
- 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 22-Oct-2019 at 12:09:30.
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 46808 44139
Reasons for Designation
Motte 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-bai1ey 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 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
and motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from
most regions. Some 100-150 examples do not have baileys and are classified as
motte castles. 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the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other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 Oldcastle 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. This example illustrates well the diversity of form and size of this class of monument.
The monument at Oldcastle consists of a motte castle located at a
strategic position along a narrow promontory formed by a meander of Wych
Brook on the England-Wales border by Fitz Hugh, Baron of Malpas.
The site comprises a motte c.30m x 11m situated in a central position
along the promontory. The motte is protected by a well defined system
of defensive features that include 3 short traverse ditches overlooking
the river to the SE of the motte, and two further ditches with adjacent
banks across a narrow spur linking the promontory with meadows to the
NW. Steeply wooded slopes down to the Wych Brook offer protection at
the NE and SW sides of the monument. The sum of the evidence suggests
that this monument is not a typical example of its type.
All fencing bounding the scheduled area is excluded from the scheduling,
as is the gate giving access along the narrow spur linking the meadow
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:
- Legacy System:
Capstick, B., FMW Report, (1987)
Cheshire SMR, RN 1667,
Leach, P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Motte & Bailey Castles, (1988)
Snowdon, C., AM 12, (1979)
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