Motte castle 150m east of Tump House Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014543

Date first listed: 23-Feb-1978

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Jul-1996


Ordnance survey map of Motte castle 150m east of Tump House Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 15:38:05.


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

District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Clifford

National Grid Reference: SO 29801 43392


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

The motte castle 150m east of Tump House Farm is a well preserved example of this class of monument, and the mound itself has not been affected by modern cuttings into the artificially steepened scarp below it. It will thus retain details of its method of construction, which may include post holes and foundations for its wooden or stone tower. The buried land surface beneath the mound will preserve evidence for land use immediately prior to the motte's construction. In its commanding position, overlooking the northern approaches to the Golden Valley and the motte and bailey castle at Newton 1km to the north west, the monument forms part of the wider picture of the medieval defences of Herefordshire. When viewed in association with the many other defensive sites in the area it can contribute to our understanding of the medieval political and social organisation of the county. The motte forms a distinctive backdrop to the Bage Pool when viewed from nearby houses.


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 the south west tip of a promontory overlooking the Bach Brook, at the head of the Dore Valley. The remains include an earthen motte mound, circular in plan, created by scarping the naturally steep sides of the spur to the west, south and east. The material obtained by this operation was piled up to create a steep sided mound, rising some 3m above the scarp, although the junction between mound and scarp is not clearly visible. The mound is slightly domed in profile, with a diameter of c.24m north-south at the base, and c.10m at the top. The scarp has been cut away somewhat on the eastern side by the construction of an embankment for the now disused Golden Valley railway. To the south west the motte overlooks an ornamental pool created in the 1970s by widening the dingle and damming the Bach Brook at the foot of the railway embankment. The scarp has been undercut to the west and south west by a trackway, beyond which it slopes steeply down to the pool some 8m below. In its strategic position overlooking the northern approaches to the Golden Valley the Bage motte castle is one of a concentration of medieval defensive monuments in this vicinity. It commands impressive views in all directions, and overlooks the motte and bailey castle at Newton some 1km to the north west (the subject of a separate scheduling). The fence to the north west of the motte is excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath it 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.

Legacy System number: 27511

Legacy System: RSM


Leigh, Judith, FMW report, (1988)
Richardson, R E, FMW report, (1984)
SMR info from fieldwork, Wilson, AM, (1977)

End of official listing