Motte and bailey castle 100m west of Holy Trinity Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013486

Date first listed: 24-Sep-1954

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Nov-1995


Ordnance survey map of Motte and bailey castle 100m west of Holy Trinity Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 14:14:24.


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

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Lydham

National Grid Reference: SO 33444 91036


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

Reasons for Designation

Motte and bailey 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-bailey 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 and bailey 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 or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

The motte and bailey castle 100m west of Lydham church survives well and is a fine example of its class. Both the motte and bailey appear to be largely undisturbed. The motte is an impressive structure up to 8m high and will retain archaeological evidence relating to its structure, character of occupation and the nature of the building which once occupied its summit. The bailey shows evidence that it was subdivided into distinctive areas and it will retain important archaeological evidence concerning the nature of the buildings which were contained within, and for the processes and activities which were carried out within and around them. Environmental evidence relating to the economy of the castle and the landscape in which it was built will survive sealed beneath the motte and in the undisturbed areas of the bailey ditch sediments. Such motte and bailey castles contribute valuable information concerning the settlement pattern, economy and social structure of the countryside during the medieval period. In this respect the close physical relationship between the castle, church and mill is considered of interest, although the church and mill are not included in the scheduling.


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


The monument includes the remains of a motte and bailey castle situated at the confluence of the River Onny and the River Camlad. The strategic siting of the castle is designed to control the natural valley routeways east to west and north to south, which converge at this point. The castle includes a substantial castle mound, or motte, set within the western part of a sub- rectangular bailey. The motte is oval in plan with base dimensions of 36m east to west by 25m north to south, the sides of the motte rising steeply to its summit 5m above the interior of the bailey. A semicircular depression has been cut into the south east quarter of the motte base. The summit of the motte is flat and roughly rectangular in plan, measuring 12m east to west by 8m transversely. On its west side the motte falls directly some 7.6m to the base of the bailey ditch, giving great defensive strength to this quarter of the castle.

The bailey, designed to protect the domestic buildings associated with the castle, encloses land on the north, east and south east sides of the motte. It has an internal area up to 62m north to south by 68m east to west and is defended by a substantial outer scarp averaging 2.4m high around all sides. Around the south, west and north sides of the bailey a well defined outer ditch averaging 7m wide and 2.4m deep runs parallel to the scarp. The northern portion of the ditch remains water-filled while along the western side a modern field drain has been cut roughly along its centre. Around the east side the ditch is no longer visible as an earthwork but it will survive as a buried feature of similar proportions. A water-course, probably a by-pass leat associated with the mill to the east of the castle, drains into the bailey ditch at its north east corner. Around the south west and west the ditch is flanked along its outer edge by an outer bank averaging 4m wide and 1.6m high. The bank is interrupted at its western extremity by an entrance gap 3m wide. On either side of this gap the bank turns outwards to flank what would have been an original approach to the castle. Although there is no surface evidence of a structure at this position it is likely that a bridge linked the entrance directly to the motte. A second entrance to the castle interior lies at the south east corner of the bailey. Here the outer scarp of the bailey is less deep and a short length of causeway curves south west to north east across the line of the ditch. Immediately within the bailey, flanking the north side of the entrance, a length of scarp approximately 25m long and 0.3m high curves from the entrance towards the motte. This may represent the line of a palisade designed to overlook and guard this approach.

The interior of the bailey is divided into two distinct level areas; the eastern, lower area, approached directly from the south east entrance measures approximately 70m north west to south east by 30m transversely. Slight surface undulations in the north east quarter of this area are believed to represent small building platforms. The second smaller level area lies immediately north of the motte and is separated from the larger area by a distinct scarp up to 1m high. The scarp curves from the north east corner of the motte towards the north, joining with the outer scarp of the bailey to create a level platform approximately 30m east to west by 20m north to south. There are no earthworks visible on this level platform but it may have been constructed as the base for a large timber building, possibly the castle hall. The foundations of any such structure here will survive as buried archaeological features.

All fences, drains and modern structures within the area of the scheduling are excluded from the scheduling although 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: 19221

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing