Motte castle known as The Mount, 440m south west of St Mary's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017916

Date first listed: 13-Oct-1954

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Apr-1998


Ordnance survey map of Motte castle known as The Mount, 440m south west of St Mary's Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Suffolk

District: Suffolk Coastal (District Authority)

Parish: Otley

National Grid Reference: TM 20281 54522


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 known as The Mount is a good example of this type of fortification and is sited characteristically to dominate the village of Otley and one of the approaches to it. The mound remains an impressive feature and will contain archaeological evidence for the timber structures which originally stood upon it, as well as other evidence relating to its original construction and subsequent use. Further archaeological remains will be contained in deposits in the infill of the ditch, and evidence for earlier land use, predating the construction of the castle, is also likely to be preserved in soils buried beneath the mound.


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


The monument includes a motte castle known as The Mount, which is situated near the upper edge of a north east facing slope, at the end of a broad, low ridge above the valley of a small stream, The Gull. From this position it overlooks the village of Otley to the north and the road to Clopton and Grundisburgh which follows the course of the stream to the east. The motte is visible as a large, sub-circular mound measuring approximately 50m in diameter at the base and standing to a height of approximately 4m. The lower sides are steeply sloped and the top, which measures up to 37m in diameter, is slightly, but asymmetrically convex in profile, highest on the north side, rather than completely level. The mound is encircled by a wide ditch which has become largely infilled but which will survive as a buried feature. On the south west side, where this ditch is not under cultivation, it is visible as a hollow up to 18m in width and approximately 1m in depth below the surface of the adjoining field. Elsewhere it can be traced as a slightly dished platform or a gentle inward slope to the base of the mound.

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: 30527

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Suffolk: Volume I, (1911), 603
CUCAP (St Joseph) HN 8, (1952)
Healy, F, (1986)
Kemp, F S, (1996)
SAU DG 1, (1976)
Suffolk Coastal; Otley, OTY 002, Record No 11184, (1990)
Title: Ordnance Survey 6" Source Date: 1928 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing