The Mount motte and bailey castle, 120m north east of Hill House Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of The Mount motte and bailey castle, 120m north east of Hill House Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. 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.

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 49737 84725

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 Mount motte and bailey castle survives well and is a fine example of its class. It will retain archaeological information concerning the methods used in its construction and the date and nature of its occupation. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was constructed will be preserved on the old land surface beneath the motte and in the fills of the ditches. Such motte and bailey castles provide valuable information concerning the settlement pattern and social organisation of the countryside during the medieval period and in this respect the proximity of the remains of a small chapel, Listed Grade II, incorporated into the modern farm buildings is of interest.


The monument includes `The Mount' motte and bailey castle, situated on the north east end of a low ridge overlooking Corve Dale to the south east. It includes a motte, oval in plan, measuring at its base 50m north east to south west by 42m north west to south east and standing to a height of 5.5m. The flat summit of the motte is similarly oval in plan with dimensions of 37m by 25m and has a well defined bank around its outer edge. This is best preserved around the southern half of the motte where it remains up to 4m wide and 1.2m high. The ditch surrounding the mound is well defined around the north and east sides where it averages 6m wide and 1m deep; it will survive as a buried feature of similar proportions around the remaining south west side of the motte. Material from the ditch has been thrown outwards to form a low counterscarp bank 4m wide and up to 0.9m high along the outer edge of the ditch. A roughly rectangular bailey, which would have provided protection for the domestic buildings associated with the motte, is attached to the east side of the motte. It occupies ground sloping to the north and east and has overall dimensions of approximately 120m north west to south east by 100m transversely with an enclosed area of approximately 1ha. The bailey perimeter earthworks can be recognised throughout most of their extent. Around the south east side they comprise a well defined ditch averaging 7m wide and 1.5m high on its inner north side, 1.3m on its outer. This lies on a south west to north east alignment and runs for approximately 70m. At its west end it is overlain by a small modern farm building which obscures the relationship between the ditch and the motte, although this relationship will be preserved beneath the building. A causeway 3m wide crosses the ditch 14m from the east face of the building. At its downslope, eastern end, the ditch widens out to form a roughly rectangular hollow 20m north west to south east by 12m transversely. From this point the inner scarp of the ditch turns to the north west, running for approximately 100m as a steep scarp up to 3m high forming the east side of the bailey. A sunken lane runs parallel to this side of the bailey, possibly following the alignment of an outer ditch. At its northern end this scarp turns to the south west as a well defined scarp 1.5m high, flanked by an outer ditch 8m wide and 0.5m deep. Both scarp and ditch fade out after approximately 100m, the scarp curving at its western end in towards the motte. The relationship between this earthwork and the motte is obscured by a later hedgeline. The bailey is split into two portions by a low north west facing scarp 0.5m high, which lies on a south west to north east alignment joining the outer bank of the motte with the eastern side of the bailey. The interior ground surface of both parts of the bailey contain a number of irregular earthworks which probably relate to the occupation of the bailey. The metalled surface of the lane to the immediate east of the bailey, sections of farm buildings and fences which fall within the area of the scheduling are excluded though the ground beneath is included. The remains of the small chapel to the west of the motte are not included in the scheduling, protection by listing being more appropriate.

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.

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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.

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