Thruxton Tump, a motte castle at Thruxton Court


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015341

Date first listed: 07-Aug-1996


Ordnance survey map of Thruxton Tump, a motte castle at Thruxton Court
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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: Thruxton

National Grid Reference: SO 43602 34638


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 afforestation and an early investigation, Thruxton Tump is a well-preserved example of a motte castle. The earthwork remains will preserve details of the motte construction, and evidence for structures such as bridges will be preserved by the deposits which have accumulated in the ditch. These ditch fills will contain environmental evidence relating to the medieval landscape in which the motte was constructed, and for subsequent activity at and around it. Similarly, the buried land surface beneath the mound will preserve evidence for the ecology and land use immediately prior to construction of the motte. Thruxton Tump forms part of the wider picture of Herefordshire's medieval defences, and as such contributes to our understanding of the political and social organisation of the county at the time. Its location near St Bartholomew's Church, and Thruxton and Exchequer Courts, demonstrates the continuity of lordly occupation in the vicinity, through to the post-medieval period. It is considered that further prehistoric remains still survive within and around the mound which will increase our understanding of the technology and burial practices of its builders. The monument is visible to members of the public using the footpath which passes to the north.


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 above a tributary of the River Dore, on lowland which slopes gently to the north. The remains include an earthen mound, of circular form, c.36m diameter at the base, with steep sides rising c.4.5m to a flat top of c.20m diameter. The mound is overgrown with brambles and mature trees. To the east the mound has been cut back for several metres and is now vertical; the present farm buildings stand c.2m away. A reservoir, now disused, has been sunk about 2m into the top of the mound. The remains of a surrounding ditch, from which material for the mound's construction will have been quarried, are visible to the north west. The ditch is c.4.5m wide here, however recent modifications to the south, south east, and east have obscured the remainder of its circuit. The motte was excavated in the 1860s by the Reverend Archer Clive, and was found to contain a simple stone chamber, pottery, iron and glass bottle fragments and animal bone. Although no burial evidence was recorded, the stone chamber is thought to indicate a Bronze Age burial mound, or barrow, which may have originally occupied the site and been adapted for defensive purposes in the medieval period. The reservoir, all fences surrounding the motte, and the paved area in front of the farm buildings, are excluded from the scheduling; however the ground beneath these features is included. The farm buildings and farmhouse are excluded from the scheduling. A public footpath runs to the north of the monument.

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: 27492

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
'Archaeologia Cambrensis' in Archaeologia Cambrensis, , Vol. III, 13, (1867), 397

End of official listing