Castle Hill Motte


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018858

Date first listed: 29-Apr-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Apr-1999


Ordnance survey map of Castle Hill Motte
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

District: Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)

Parish: Brailes

National Grid Reference: SP 30754 40070


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Castle Hill Motte, together with its associated outworks, survives well and represents a good example of this type of monument. Buried archaeological deposits relating to both the construction of the castle and the activities of its inhabitants will survive within the motte ditch and the mound itself providing valuable information on the wealth and status of the castle's inhabitants.


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


The monument is situated on the east side of the village of Upper Brailes and includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle, known as Castle Hill Motte. In the early to mid-12th century Brailes was part of the domain of Robert Newburgh, Earl of Warwick, and the construction of the castle has been attributed to him.

The motte is sited on a natural knoll whose summit has been reshaped to some extent and artificially raised to create the flat-topped mound. It measures approximately 24m across its top with traces of a low bank around its outside edge and is surrounded by a 2.5m wide ditch. The motte stands on an oval-shaped platform which has been formed by modifying the sides of the hill to create a levelled area around the motte. Immediately to the north, west and south west is a further terraced area which, together with the platform, are believed to have formed a series of outworks around the motte and will have provided a fairly sophisticated means of access to the mound itself.

All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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: 21630

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Chatwin, P B, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeologiacl Society' in Castles in Warwickshire, , Vol. 67, (1947), 11-12

End of official listing