Hardwick castle motte and bailey castle 140m WSW of Hardwick Hall


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Hardwick castle motte and bailey castle 140m WSW of Hardwick 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 23-Jan-2020 at 11:29:11.


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

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 36746 90591

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 140m WSW of Hardwick Hall survives well and is a good example of its class. It will retain archaeological information relating to its date, construction and to the character of its occupation, both in the area of the motte and of the bailey. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the castle was constructed will survive sealed beneath the motte and in the lower levels of the ditch fill. Such motte and bailey castles contribute valuable information concerning the settlement pattern, economy, social organisation and in the case of Hardwick motte and bailey, the control of communications in this area of upland during the medieval period.


The monument includes the remains of a motte and bailey castle situated in the settlement called Hardwick immediately below the crest of a low north west to south east ridge of high ground on the west bank of the East Onny River. The motte and bailey is positioned at the southern end of the river valley to control the natural north to south valley routeway between the Long Mynd hills to the east and Linley Hill/Stiperstones range to the west. It includes a substantial castle mound, or motte, with a bailey to the north west. The motte is circular in plan with a base diameter of 27m and standing up to 3m high. The summit of the motte is flat and has a diameter of 16m. The remains of a surrounding ditch, from which material would have been quarried for the construction of the motte, are visible around the north west quarter of the motte as a shallow depression up to 5m wide and 0.4m deep with traces of an outer, counter scarp bank 0.1m high. Although it is no longer visible as a surface feature around the remaining sides of the motte, the ditch will survive here also as a buried feature of similar proportions. The bailey to the north west was designed to provide protection for the domestic buildings associated with the castle. It is now represented by a length of low scarp averaging 0.6m high which curves approximately ENE to WNW. The scarp appears to represent the north west end of the bailey, the projected curve of the scarp indicating that the bailey originally had an internal area approximately 24m north west to south east by 40m transversely. Typically such a bailey would have had an outer protective ditch, which is believed to survive here as a buried feature with an estimated width of 4m.

Fencing around the base of the motte and part of a barn which falls within the protected area 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. 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.

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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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