Castle Pulverbatch motte and bailey castle with outer bailey, 100m NNW of Brook Cottage


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1012860.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 20-Jan-2021 at 23:46:20.


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

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 transversely. 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Watson, M, Musson, C, Shropshire from the Air. Man and the Landscape, (1993), 57
Local enquiry,
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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].