Lilbourne motte and bailey castle and fishpond


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012333

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Jun-1992


Ordnance survey map of Lilbourne motte and bailey castle and fishpond
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Northamptonshire

District: Daventry (District Authority)

Parish: Lilbourne

National Grid Reference: SP 56092 77480


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

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Lilbourne motte and bailey castle lies within 800m of a second motte and bailey at Lilbourne Gorse and occupies an important strategic position at the crossing point of the River Avon. The monument presents a well preserved example of a motte castle with two peripheral baileys and an associated fishpond.


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


Lilbourne motte and bailey castle lies just to the north of Lilbourne village, close to All Saints Church. The castle is located just south of the River Avon beside a crossing point of the river. The earthworks of the motte and bailey castle cover an area measuring approximately 140m x 100m. The motte is a round conical mound about 10m high, which is surrounded by a ditch 2m deep on the north, south and east sides. To the south east of the motte lies a substantial peripheral bailey, about 35m square. The bailey has banks up to 3m high around its inner edge on all but the north side, and is surrounded by a ditch up to 5m wide. A further bank, about 1m high, lies on the outer edge of the south side of the bailey. To the north east of the motte mound is sited the remains of a second smaller peripheral bailey area, oval in shape. This bailey is surrounded by a ditch and has a slight inner bank on the south east side. Lying outside the motte and bailey to the north east is a small rectangular fishpond which was associated with the castle and was connected by a water channel to the ditches of the bailey. The castle is located 800m to the north east of a second motte and bailey at Lilbourne Gorse.

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: 13658

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing