Motte 50m south east of St Martin's Church: part of a motte and bailey castle
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2020 at 11:31:52.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
- Little Ness
- National Grid Reference:
- SJ 40788 19850
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were superseded by other types of castle.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 belonging to the motte and bailey castle south east of St Martin's Church is a good example of its class. It will retain archaeological information relating to its construction, age and the character of its use. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was constructed will be preserved on the old land surface sealed beneath the motte and in the fill of the buried ditch. Although not included within the scheduling, the area of the churchyard to the north occupies the site of the bailey and illustrates the close relationship between castles and parish churches in this region in the 11th and 12th centuries. Such monuments, when considered either as single sites or as a part of a larger medieval landscape, contribute valuable information concerning the settlement pattern, economy and social structure of the countryside during the medieval period.
The monument includes the motte of a small motte and bailey castle situated on
the summit of a small hill overlooking, to the east, the valley of the River
Perry. The castle originally consisted of the motte to the south east with an
oval bailey enclosure to the north west, which is now completely occupied by
St Martin's Church and churchyard. The castle mound, or motte was originally
circular in plan with a base diameter of 30m. The mound has been cut across
by quarrying around its southern side, flattening the base, so that the motte
now has a D-shaped plan. The summit of the motte stands up to 4.6m above the
surrounding ground level and has a diameter of approximately 4m. Although no
longer visible as a surface earthwork, a ditch, from which the material would
have been quarried for the construction of the motte, will survive as a buried
feature surrounding the motte.
St Martin's Church to the north west of the motte now stands in an oval
churchyard enclosure which adjoins the motte at its south east end. The
churchyard lies along the line of the hill and has maximum dimensions of 64m
north west to south east by 40m transversely. Although there are now no
traces of any surface earthworks, the churchyard wall is believed to follow
the line of the castle bailey boundary. Although the archaeological
stratigraphy in this area is of considerable significance to the monument, the
generations of grave cuts in the interior of the churchyard will have greatly
disturbed it. The church and churchyard remain in use and are not included in
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of : Volume I, (1908), 396-7
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