Beacon Hill motte castle

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1013142
Date first listed:
26-Nov-1969
Date of most recent amendment:
08-Nov-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Beacon Hill motte castle
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2020. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

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

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 31-Mar-2020 at 09:21:46.

Location

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

County:
Northamptonshire
District:
Wellingborough (District Authority)
Parish:
Wollaston
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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
13647
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

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

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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].