Motte 50m south east of St Martin's Church: part of a motte and bailey castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Motte 50m south east of St Martin's Church: part of a motte and bailey castle
© 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 11:31:52.


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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

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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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

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