Castle Pulverbatch motte and bailey castle with outer bailey, 100m NNW of Brook Cottage
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1012860
Date first listed: 03-Apr-1967
Date of most recent amendment: 12-Sep-1996
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish: Church Pulverbatch
National Grid Reference: SJ 42249 02191
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were superseded by other types of castle.
Castle Pulverbatch motte and bailey castle survives well and is one of the finest examples of its class in the county. The substantial motte and the bailey earthworks will contain valuable archaeological information concerning its method of construction and evidence relating to the occupation of the castle. The interiors of the motte and of both baileys appear undisturbed and will contain valuable stratified archaeological information relating to the date, character and occupation of the buildings which once stood upon the motte and within the baileys. The castle is a substantial example, which is believed to have been in use for only a short period between 1086 and 1202 and to have subsequently remained deserted. The early archaeological remains will therefore be undisturbed by any later occupation of the site and will be of particular value. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed and the economy of the period will be preserved sealed on the old land surface beneath the motte and the bailey ramparts, and in the fill of the various ditches. Such motte and bailey castles also contribute valuable information relating to the settlement pattern, social structure and administrative organisation of the countryside during the early medieval period.
The monument includes Castle Pulverbatch motte and double bailey castle
situated at the northern end of a small steep sided ridge overlooking to the
north east the village of Pulverbatch set in a small valley, through which the
natural valley route from Shrewsbury to Bishops Castle once ran. The manor was
held by Roger Venator in 1086 and it is possible that he was responsible for
the construction of the castle, though it is not until 1153 that the castle is
first mentioned in texts of the period. By 1202 the castle, although still in
existence, had been deserted and was falling into disrepair.
The castle earthworks include a castle mound or motte, roughly circular in
plan with a base diameter of 35m standing up to 8m high. The motte has been
constructed on the edge of the ridge to make maximum strategic use of the
natural topography. Although there is now no trace of any masonry on the motte
there is a local tradition that stonework formerly existed on the site. A
substantial ditch, 7m wide and 2.6m deep, with a counterscarp bank 4m wide and
0.8m high separates the castle motte from the flat ground to the west. Around
the east and south east sides of the motte no ditch is visible and it may be
that the steep natural slopes, which fall to the south east, provided
sufficient defence. There are two conjoined baileys designed to contain and
protect the domestic buildings of the castle. The smaller, inner bailey lies
on the north east side of the motte and a larger outer bailey lies to the
north west. The inner bailey lies adjacent to the motte and is rectangular in
plan with internal dimensions of 28m north east to south west by 30m
Around its north west and north east sides the bailey is defended by a
substantial bank approximately 10m wide and 4.2m high on its outside, 1.5m
high on its inside. Around the south east side the natural hillslope has been
cut back to create a steep scarp slope above the natural approach to the
castle. A ditch 6m wide and 1.2m deep runs for approximately 40m along the
western side of the north east bailey, turning into the bailey rampart at its
southern end short of the motte ditch, to allow passage between the inner and
outer baileys. A similar section of ditch runs for 30m parallel to the north
east section of rampart. A large pit 6m in diameter and 1.2m deep lies in the
south west sector of the north east bailey, adjacent to the motte ditch. The
outer bailey lies adjacent to the motte on its north west side and is roughly
triangular in shape with internal dimensions of 80m north to south by 40m east
to west. It is defended by a bank up to 6.5m wide and 1.4m high along its
north west side and by a scarp 2.2m high along its south west side. A ditch up
to 5m wide and 1m deep runs along the outside of both bank and scarp. Around
the northern side of the enclosure the bailey rampart lies adjacent to the
modern roadway; a section of the rampart at the northern corner of the site is
crossed by a trackway leading into the interior of the site.
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: 19193
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Watson, M, Musson, C, Shropshire from the Air. Man and the Landscape, (1993), 57
Record no 1051,
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