Motte castle 178m WSW of Walford Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014101

Date first listed: 28-Nov-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Motte castle 178m WSW of Walford Bridge
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Walford, Letton and Newton

National Grid Reference: SO 39143 72418


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Despite modern drainage works around the motte castle at Walford it remains a well-preserved example of this class of monument. The motte mound will contain evidence for its method of construction, which may include post holes and foundations for its wooden or stone tower. Evidence for structures such as bridges will be preserved by material which has accumulated in the ditch. Because these deposits are waterlogged it is likely that environmental evidence, including organic remains, will survive, containing information relating to the date of the motte and the activities which took place on and around it. The wider medieval landscape in which the motte was constructed will be reflected in these deposits, as well as in the buried land surface beneath the mound itself. There are indications that important prehistoric remains survive beneath the motte structure, and details of burial mound structure and associated deposits will increase our understanding of the technology and burial practices of its builders. The ground surface sealed beneath this mound will preserve environmental evidence for the prehistoric landscape in which it was constructed.

In its strategic position overlooking a crossroads, and its location near its neighbour at Buckton, the motte at Walford forms part of the wider picture of Herefordshire's medieval defences, and as such is an important element of the political and social organisation of the county at the time. The motte's location near Walford Court illustrates continuity of lordly occupation in the vicinity into the post-medieval period.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle, situated on level ground in the Teme valley, south of the river and 178m WSW of Walford Bridge. Two north east flowing drains border the monument to the north and south. The remains include a steep sided earthen mound of circular form, 30m diameter at the base and rising 3m to a flat top 13m across. From the top of the motte it can be seen to have six roughly equal sides, a feature which is not apparent from the base. On the south west side of the mound an early investigation of the site has created a substantial hollow, exposing masonry; the remains of a wall or stairway. Evidence for a prehistoric burial is thought to have been found during this investigation, which probably took place at the end of the last century. A shallow depression, 0.75m wide and extending c.2m in from the northern edge of the top of the mound, may also be a legacy of this event. A causeway across the surrounding ditch at this point may represent the original means of access to the motte. Spoil from the adjacent hollow has spread across this feature, partly obscuring its dimensions. The ditch is up to 7.5m wide, and is now mostly infilled, partly as a result of drainage works in 1930 when a pipe was laid to the south of the motte. However, it is still visible as a boggy area and is defined by an external bank which is up to 0.5m high and 6m wide. This bank is most easily visible to the north and north east, but is indistinct to the south. In the east quarter it extends north eastwards for c.20m, parallel with the ditch which runs towards Walford Bridge. A second extension, less well defined, extension runs several metres out from the northern quarter of the bank. To the south west the bank is visible as a slight rise supporting coarser grass than elsewhere, which extends for c.26m. This rise is separated from the rest of the bank by an inlet channel, which is 8m wide at this point and is visible as a spread of short, dark green grass for some distance beyond. The monument is associated with a similar motte castle at Buckton, just over 1km to the north west across the Teme. The Buckton motte is the subject of a separate scheduling, as are the remains of a Roman camp which extends to within 100m of the scheduled area at Walford.

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: 27488

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing