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Beacon Hill motte castle

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Beacon Hill motte castle

List entry Number: 1013142

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Northamptonshire

District: Wellingborough

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Wollaston

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 26-Nov-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Nov-1995

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 13647

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
'Medieval Archaeology' in Excavation Report on Beacon Hill?, , Vol. 14, (1970)

National Grid Reference: SP 90842 62930

Map

Map
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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 - 1013142 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2017 at 08:51:54.

End of official listing