Beacon Hill motte castle
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 31-Mar-2020 at 09:21:46.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Wellingborough (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SP 90842 62930
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the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other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.
Beacon Hill is a well preserved example of a motte castle lying at the heart of an existing village. Although partially excavated, the site demonstrates high potential for the survival of structural evidence of the 12th century castle and its immediate precursor. The substantial ditch to the south is in excellent condition and will retain contemporaneous environmental evidence.
Beacon Hill motte castle lies in the centre of the village of Wollaston, just
to the south of the church. The conical mound of the motte is over 6m high,
with a base diameter of approximately 60m and a flat summit about 24m across.
The motte ditch is still apparent on the south side and, during small scale
excavations in 1961-2, the ditch was found to be up to 3.5m deep. Pottery of
the 12th century was also discovered, together with the remains of a 12th
century stone building which stood on the summit. This building is considered
to be the remains of an early stone castle, which was destroyed soon after it
was built, and traces of an even earlier structure were found beneath it. It
is also known that a post mill was sited on the motte in the 13th to 15th
centuries. There is no record of a bailey being attached to the castle but
this may have been destroyed by later building on the site.
Made up paths and buildings on the site are excluded from the scheduling but
the ground beneath is included.
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
'Medieval Archaeology' in Excavation Report on Beacon Hill?, , Vol. 14, (1970)
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