Motte castle at Hisland


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013497

Date first listed: 14-Mar-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Nov-1995


Ordnance survey map of Motte castle at Hisland
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Oswestry Rural

National Grid Reference: SJ 31722 27483


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

The motte castle at Hisland survives well and is a good example of its class. It will retain valuable archaeological information relating to its construction and occupation. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was constructed will survive sealed on the old land surface beneath the motte and in the lower levels of the ditch fill. Such motte castles, considered both as a single site and as a part of a broader medieval landscape, contribute valuable information concerning the rural settlement pattern, economy and social organisation of the countryside during the medieval period.


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


The monument includes the remains of a small motte castle situated on the eastern tip of a low spur of high ground. The motte is of earth and rubble construction, is roughly oval in plan with dimensions of 28m north to south by 24m transversely and stands to a height of 4m. The motte summit is flat and also oval in plan, measuring 18m north to south by 11m east to west. A roughly rectangular depression 4m by 4.5m and 0.3m deep is cut into the eastern quarter of the summit representing surface disturbance in the recent past. A ditch, from which material for the construction of the motte would have been quarried, surrounds the motte. It remains visible around the west and north west sides of the motte as a shallow depression 4m wide and 0.2m deep. It will survive as a buried feature around the remaining sides of the motte. No bailey associated with the motte has yet been traced. A portion of a barn to the immediate south of the motte and a length of metalled road to the east, which are within the area of the scheduling, are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath each is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 19216

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Ekwall, , English Place names, (1985), 260

End of official listing