Studley Old Castle : a motte castle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013161

Date first listed: 17-Jul-1995


Ordnance survey map of Studley Old Castle : a motte castle
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2019 at 12:20:29.


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

County: Warwickshire

District: Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)

Parish: Studley

National Grid Reference: SP 08126 63829


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Studley Old Castle survives well and is an impressive example of a rare type of site locally: only four motte castles have so far been identified in Warwickshire. Small-scale excavation at the site has confirmed that the motte and its surrounding ditch retain important buried structural and artefactual information about the buildings which existed on the motte and the activities of the site's inhabitants. The importance of the site is enhanced by the survival of related documentary information and by its close proximity to the church, the original construction of which will have been closely associated with Studley Old Castle.


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


The monument is situated 10m north of St Mary's Church in Studley and includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle. The ditch surrounding the motte has a V-shaped profile and measures 13m wide and approximately 0.7m deep. The northern, eastern and south eastern sections of the ditch have been infilled but will survive as buried features and are included in the scheduling. In the northern part of the site, the ground falls away beyond the infilled ditch. The flat-topped mound has been artificially raised to a height of 4m above the surrounding ground surface. It is roughly circular in plan and has a diameter of approximately 77m across its summit with a slight extension to the mound on its north eastern side. The northern part of the motte is partly occupied by a timber-framed house which dates from the 16th century with later alterations, and several modern garages. The house is Listed Grade II* and is not included in the scheduling. The mound has a relatively level surface, perhaps due to landscaping in the 18th or 19th centuries. An excavation at the site in 1967 recovered fragments of mid-12th to mid-13th century pottery. The motte castle is thought to have been built between c.1135-40 and its construction has been attributed to William Corbucion or one of his descendants. Documentary sources indicate that fragments of standing medieval masonry still stood at the site during the mid-17th century. The timber-framed house, the water tank and the modern garages which all occupy the north eastern part of the site are excluded from the scheduling; the surface of all paths and driveways, the electricity poles and their support cables, the walling on the motte and all fence posts are also excluded from the scheduling; the ground beneath all these features, however, is included in 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: 21584

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Dugdale, W, Antiquities of Warwickshire, (1730), 741
Hooke, D, Studley Parish Survey, (1980), 43
Hooke, D, Studley Parish Survey, (1980), 42
Styles, P, The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire: Aston Cantlow, (1946), 178

End of official listing