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the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other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 monument at Castle Hill, High Bradfield, is important for being part of
a settlement pattern which includes the village and the nearby motte and
bailey castle on Bailey Hill. Although damaged by quarrying, enough remains
of the monument for the relationship between the two castles to be examined
in the future.
The site on Castle Hill, High Bradfield lies on a natural ridge overlooking
the Loxley valley. It shares this vantage with Bailey Hill motte and bailey
castle which lies some 600m to the north west, although the precise
relationship between the two sites is not yet known. The monument comprises
a small oval motte with a parallel sided bailey to the south-east. The
bailey, measuring c.50m x c.150m, has been heavily quarried out and is
steeply scarped on its south-west side. A ditch and outer rampart run below
the scarp which continues north to encircle the motte. Sections of a double
ditch can be seen on the north side. All walls and fencing crossing the site
are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included.
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.