Motte and bailey castle 150m north east of Wilmington


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Motte and bailey castle 150m north east of Wilmington
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2020 at 11:31:23.


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

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
Chirbury with Brompton
National Grid Reference:
SJ 29751 02018

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 motte and bailey castle 150m north east of Wilmington survives well and is a good example of its class. It will retain archaeological information relating to its construction and occupation. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the castle was constructed will survive sealed beneath the motte and in the ditch fill. Such motte and bailey castles contribute information concerning the settlement pattern, economy and social structure of the countryside during the medieval period.


The monument includes the remains of a motte and bailey castle situated on a low ridge on the south side of Rea Brook. The castle is positioned to overlook the natural valley routeway from Shrewsbury in the north east to Montgomery in the south west. It includes a substantial earthen mound, or motte, circular in plan with a base diameter of 32m standing up to 4.6m high. The circular summit of the mound is 9m in diameter and shows slight traces of mortared masonry walls with scattered stone rubble indicating that a building once occupied the summit. The motte stands on the summit of the ridge, the hillslope surrounding it has been cut back to create a well defined scarp up to 1.8m high enclosing an oval area of roughly level ground. The largest portion of this enclosure extends to the north of the motte and would have functioned as a bailey, a defended area in which the domestic buildings associated with the castle would have stood. It has dimensions of 35m north to south by 42m transversely. The bailey scarp continues to the south of the motte to enclose the tail of the spur, forming a small triangular area of defended ground. Although this could have been used in a similar fashion as the main bailey, it appears to have been principally designed to give additional defensive strength to the motte in this quarter. There are no visible surface traces of ditches surrounding either motte or bailey though they will survive as buried features. Sections of boundary hedges within the area are not included in the scheduling although the ground beneath 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.


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.

End of official listing

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