Belan Bank motte and bailey castle 250m east of Farm Hall
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1014622
Date first listed: 22-Jan-1965
Date of most recent amendment: 21-Nov-1995
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Feb-2019 at 12:30:29.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SJ 34112 19988
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were superseded by other types of castle.
Belan Bank motte and bailey castle survives well and is a good example of its class. The terraced form of the motte is of interest as it suggests an unusual adaptation of the standard motte and bailey form. Although part of the upper motte has been removed, the larger part survives intact and will retain archaeological information relating to its age, construction and the character of occupation. The bailey also survives intact and apparently undisturbed, and will contain valuable archaeological information relating to the nature of the buildings contained within it and to activities undertaken within the castle confines. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed will be preserved beneath the motte and the ramparts and in the various ditch fills. Such motte and bailey castles contribute valuable information concerning the settlement pattern, economy and social structure of the countryside during the medieval period.
The monument includes the remains of Belan Bank motte and bailey castle
situated at the western end of a low rise of ground south of the village of
Kinnerley and approximately 4.5km east of the Welsh border. It is believed
that it was originally called Eggelawe. The castle includes a castle mound, or
motte, set within the northern half of a sub-rectangular bailey. The motte is
of an unusual form with a small central mound set upon a larger earthwork
platform. The lower platform of the motte is roughly circular in plan with an
overall diameter of 50m and rises 1.5m above the level of the surrounding
bailey. A surrounding ditch, which separates the motte from the bailey,
remains visible as a slight, but distinct surface depression averaging 4m wide
and 0.3m deep. Set upon the lower platform, slightly north of centre, is the
motte proper. It has been quarried in its southern quarter so that, in its
present form, it is a crescent-shaped mound. However vestiges of the southern
rim of the mound survive showing that in its original form it was a roughly
circular earthen mound 25m in diameter at its base. The summit of the mound
stands up to 3m above the level of the lower platform and would have
originally been circular with a diameter of approximately 16m. The berm which
has been created between the central scarp and edge of the lower platform
varies in width between 10m around the south side, and 5m around the north. A
timber palisade probably once ran around the outer edge of the berm, forming
an inner ward between it and the motte keep.
Surrounding the motte is a well defined sub-rectangular bailey with internal dimensions of 85m north to south by 78m east to west. The bailey is bounded around all sides by a pronounced scarp varying between 1.8m high in the south west and 1.3m high in the north east. Around the whole east side of the bailey the defences are strengthened by the addition of an inner bank averaging 6m wide and 0.4m high. An outer ditch can be traced as a well defined depression up to 8m wide and 0.3m deep around the north east, east and south sides of the bailey. Around the west and north sides of the bailey the ditch is no longer visible, having been replaced by a substantial field drain. Midway along the east side of the bailey is the probable location of the original entrance. Here the inner bank is interrupted for 6m, the outer scarp is slightly lowered and there are slight indications of a causeway crossing the ditch. In the south east angle of the bailey is a shallow rectangular depression measuring approximately 12m east to west by 10m north to south which probably represents the site of a building. A small circular hollow 4m in diameter and 1m deep surrounded by a low bank 0.5m wide and 0.1m high is cut into the inner bank at the north east corner of the bailey. The lower levels of the hollow are lined with the remains of metal shuttering and it has the overall appearance of an abandoned military foxhole.
The site stands in an area formerly used by the military, amidst a series of World War II storage bunkers. Each bunker was originally linked by a tramway system, the tramlines of which remain recognisable as a series of interlinking, low, flat topped banks 4m wide and 0.1m high. One such bank crosses roughly north east to south west close to the south eastern corner of the motte and bailey. The monument boundary is extended in this area to contain this portion of the tramway to preserve the stratigraphic relationship between it and the castle earthworks.
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: 19218
Legacy System: RSM
OS correspondent, Chitty, L F,
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