Shocklach Castle motte and moated enclosure

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012620

Date first listed: 29-Nov-1926

Date of most recent amendment: 17-May-1991

Map

Ordnance survey map of Shocklach Castle motte and moated enclosure
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

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

District: Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Caldecott

District: Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Church Shocklach

National Grid Reference: SJ 43331 50789, SJ 43460 50843

Summary

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Shocklach Castle 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. Additionally the site lies within an area containing the most important concentration of medieval monuments in Cheshire. These monuments include two shrunken medieval hamlets, a defended green lane, a Norman chapel, well preserved ridge and furrow, a ford across the River Dee, and a complex of communally owned watermeadows.

History

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

Details

The monument is situated in a dingle thought to have been one of the ancient trackways utilised by the Welsh in their frequent raids into southern Cheshire. It consists of a well preserved motte 4-5m high and a D-shaped moated enclosure separated by a small tributary of the River Dee and also a modern minor road. The motte, which lies in the loop of the stream offering defence to the N and W, is protected by a partly waterlogged/silted ditch on its SW, S and E sides, beyond which is an outer bank. There is no evidence of a bailey immediately attached to this motte. However, 30m to the E lies a D-shaped moated enclosure measuring 54m W-E and surrounded on all sides except the S by a dry ditch. A causeway crosses the ditch and gives access to the platform at the NE. Earthworks consisting of banks and a ditch are conspicuous on the platform. The monument was originally constructed by the Barons of Malpas c.1100 in an attempt to protect the region from frequent Welsh raids. The monument comprises two separate protected areas. All hedges and fences are excluded from the scheduling, however, the ground beneath them is included.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 13422

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Cathcart-King, D J, Castellarium Anglicanum, (1983), 68
Other
Capstick, B, AM 107 (1987),
Cheshire SMR, RN 1794,
Leach, P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Motte & Bailey Castles, (1988)
SSC/RT/JAS, Castletown, Near Farndon, Cheshire, (1986)
SSC/RT/JAS, Castletown, Near Farndon, Cheshire, (1986)
SSC/RT/JAS, Castletown, Near Farndon, Cheshire, (1986)

End of official listing