Castle Toot motte castle, 450m WSW of Mawleytown Farm.
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
- 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the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other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.
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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Record no 1185,
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