Motte castle 140m south east of Wilcot Hall


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Motte castle 140m south east of Wilcot Hall
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 31-Mar-2020 at 09:36:29.


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

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
Great Ness
National Grid Reference:
SJ 37964 18526

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 south east of Wilcot Hall survives well and is a good example of its class. It will retain archaeological information relating to its construction and the character of occupation here. The mound also preserves the foundation remains of a major tower keep of unknown date. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was built will be preserved sealed beneath the mound and in the lower sediments of the ditch fill. Such motte castles, when considered as a single site or as part of a broader medieval landscape, contribute valuable information concerning the settlement pattern, economy and social stucture of the countryside during the medieval period.


The monument includes the remains of a motte castle situated on the northern end of a low spur east of the village of Wilcott and overlooking the valley of a small stream to the north west. It includes a well defined castle mound, or motte, which is circular in plan and has a base diameter of 42m. The motte is positioned on the tip of the spur using the natural defensive strength of its position to maximum effect. Around the north side of the site the slope of the motte and the natural slope of the spur merge so that the motte summit stands 9.2m above the wet ground to the north, and there is no outer ditch. Around the south side, where the natural slope of the spur top rises slightly away from the motte, the motte stands approximately 3.9m high and is separated from the spur by a curving ditch 4m wide and 0.2m deep cut across the line of the spur. The summit of the motte has a maximum diameter of 26m and is hollowed at centre to a depth of 2.4m forming a depression 21m in diameter. This is believed to represent the foundations of a circular tower which originally occupied the motte summit. At the centre of the depression a circular hollow 4m in diameter and 2m deep represents an early investigation of the site. The south western quarter of the bank formed around the edge of the central depression has also been cut at some time in the past, creating an entrance gap 4m wide into the motte interior. No bailey associated with the motte has yet been traced.

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.

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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

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