Motte castle at Upper Buckton


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014102

Date first listed: 28-Nov-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Motte castle at Upper Buckton
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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: Buckton and Coxall

National Grid Reference: SO 38289 73228


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 slight alteration of the ditch by the mill leat, the motte castle at Buckton remains a well-preserved example of this class of monument. The motte mound will contain details of its method of construction, which may include postholes and foundations for its wooden or stone tower. Evidence for structures such as a bridge will be preserved by material which has accumulated in the ditch. These ditch deposits will contain evidence for the date of the motte and for activities on and around it. The wider medieval landscape in which the motte was constructed will be reflected in these remains, as well as in the buried land surface beneath the mound itself. In its strategic position overlooking Buckton Bridge, and its location near its neighbour at Walford, the motte at Buckton 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.


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 floodplain north of the River Teme. It is bounded to the south by a water channel, originally a mill leat, which leaves the river some 700m upstream and rejoins it beyond Buckton itself. The larger part of the monument is in a pasture field, however its north eastern side is fenced off and incorporated into a garden. The remains include an earthen motte mound of roughly oval form, c.45m diameter south west to north east, and c.35m diameter north west to south east. The mound is steep sided, rising to a height of c.4m except to the south west, where the sides are steeper and rise to c.5.2m. The top of the mound is c.26m diameter south west to north east and c.17m north west to south east, and the south west end is raised c.1.2m above the rest of the summit. This raised area extends for c.3m before falling away to a level surface, which rises again slightly towards the northern end of the motte. A shallow depression is visible in the side of the mound in this quarter, and a path has been worn up the edge of this depression to the summit. The motte mound is surrounded by a dry ditch which has been cut away by the mill leat to the south. The ditch is most easily visible to the west and south west, and is up to 8m wide and 0.5m deep. It can be seen as a slight depression around the north of the motte, extending from the pasture field into the garden, to the edge of the patio at the back of Upper Buckton Farmhouse. The monument is just over 1km north west of a similar example at Walford, which is the subject of a separate scheduling (SM27488). The buried remains of two Roman sites to the east of the Buckton motte are also the subject of separate schedulings. Within the monument itself, the wooden fence across the north east quarter of the motte, and the gate across the leat, are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them is included. The paved garden path along the base of the mound to the south east, and the patio area to the north east, are excluded from the scheduling, as are the foot bridge across the leat and the wooden arch at its northern end although the ground beneath all these features is included in the scheduling.

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: 27489

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing