Castle Toot motte castle, 450m WSW of Mawleytown Farm.

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1012868
Date first listed:
31-May-1951
Date of most recent amendment:
31-Jul-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Castle Toot motte castle, 450m WSW of Mawleytown Farm.
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. 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:
Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Cleobury Mortimer
National Grid Reference:
SO 68201 76059

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Castle Toot motte castle survives well and is a good example of its class. The castle earthworks survive largely intact, incorporated into the landscaped gardens of the house, and will contain stratified archaeological information concerning their age and method of construction. The foundations of the original buildings which stood on the site will survive as buried features in the interior of the castle. Evidence of walling associated with a gatehouse and entrance causeway or bridge, sited in the north east quarter of the site, will also survive as buried features. Archaeological evidence relating to the occupation of the site will survive throughout the site. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed will be preserved in the fill of the ditch and sealed on the old land surface beneath the ramparts. The castle is positioned to control a crossing point of the River Rea on the outskirts of the medieval settlement of Cleobury Mortimer. As such it contributes valuable information relating to the management of communications, settlement pattern, economy and social stucture of this area of the countryside during the medieval period.

Details

The monument includes Castle Toot, a motte castle situated on a small promontory on the east bank of the River Rea. The position has been chosen to overlook and control a crossing point on the River Rea and uses the natural defensive strength of the topography to maximum strategic effect. Around the west, south and east sides of the promontory the natural hillslope has been cut back to form a steep scarp up to 5m high. At the foot of the scarp around the south, east and north east sides is a ditch averaging 4m wide and 2m deep; the spoil from the ditch has been thrown outwards to form a low outer bank 0.5m high. Both the scarp and ditch terminate in the north west and south west on the precipitous valley side which forms the north west side of the defences. The original entrance appears to have been in the north east quarter of the castle where a causeway crosses the ditch and passes through a simple entrance gap in the perimeter scarp. Fragments of walling and the remains of a gatehouse were visible in this area at the end of the 18th century and in 1911 stones forming the base of a causeway or bridge were observed. Today none of the original stonework remains visible though slight surface irregularities in the vicinity suggest that buried foundations remain close to the surface. A substantial house was built in the centre of the castle in the 1950s. This house, all standing buildings and structures, boundary features and metalled surfaces are excluded from the scheduling though the ground beneath each is included. A septic tank in the north west quarter of the interior is totally excluded from the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
19202
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Other
Record no 1185,

Legal

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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