Motte castle and associated earthwork SSW of All Saints Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017549

Date first listed: 25-Feb-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Feb-1993


Ordnance survey map of Motte castle and associated earthwork SSW of All Saints Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Dec-2018 at 22:47:37.


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

County: Leicestershire

District: Harborough (District Authority)

Parish: Shawell

National Grid Reference: SP 54081 79536, SP 54104 79596


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Shawell motte castle is a well preserved example of a Leicestershire motte. Remains of part of the original outlying castle defences also survive and indicate the extensive nature of the medieval earthwork.


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


The monument at Shawell is situated 75m south of the church, between Lutterworth and Rugby near the southern boundary of Leicestershire, and includes two protected areas. The motte comprises a circular, flat-topped mound and surrounding ditch. The mound is 3-4m high and 35m diameter with an area 10m in diameter on the top. The ditch measures 7m wide and 1.5m deep on the south side but is not visible north of the motte. Twenty metres to the south of the motte is a smaller circular mound, approximately 20m in diameter and 1m high, which is the only remaining feature of a series of defensive earthworks known to have existed in the vicinity of the motte castle.

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: 17047

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume I, (1907)

End of official listing