Wollaston motte and bailey castle immediately west of St John's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019015

Date first listed: 24-Sep-1954

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Sep-2000


Ordnance survey map of Wollaston motte and bailey castle immediately west of St John's 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 15-Dec-2018 at 16:31:25.


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

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Alberbury with Cardeston

National Grid Reference: SJ 32886 12296


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

Reasons for Designation

Motte and bailey 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-bailey 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 and bailey 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 or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. 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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Although the eastern and southern sides of the Wollaston motte and bailey castle immediately west of St John's Church have been disturbed by the constuction of buildings since the 18th century, it survives well and is a good example of this class of monument. The remains of the structures that stood on the motte and within the bailey are expected to survive, which together with the associated artefacts and organic remains will provide valuable evidence about the activities and the lifestyle of the inhabitants. Organic remains surviving under the motte and the bailey banks, and within the ditches, will also provide information about the changes to the local environment and the use of the land before and after the castle was constructed.

The monument remains a prominent feature within the landscape and its importance is further enhanced by its proximity to the motte castle near Bretchel.


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


The monument includes the surviving extent of the earthwork and buried remains of a motte and bailey castle, situated in an area of gently undulating land at the top of a south west facing slope. From this location there are commanding views of the surrounding area in all directions. The castle lies 860m north west of another motte castle to the south west of Bretchel, which is the subject of a separate scheduling.

The flat-topped, steep sided oval motte measures approximately 30m by 34m at its base, 9m by 12m across the top and stands about 8m high. It is surrounded by a ditch, the northern half of which survives as a visible earthwork up to 1m deep. A cottage, which is not included in the scheduling, has been inserted into the tail of the southern part of the motte and the ditch. The bailey lies immediately north of the ditch encircling the motte. Internally, it is approximately 60m long and up to 30m wide and is defined on the eastern side by a scarp 1.2m high and on the north western and south western sides by low banks up to 0.5m high. Although no longer visible at ground level, a ditch approximately 3m wide, surrounds these banks. It has become infilled over the years but survives as a buried feature.

There are a number of features which are excluded from the scheduling: these are the boundary wall adjoining Beacon Cottage running south west - north east, the associated garden walls and the walls revetting the motte which surround the northern and eastern sides of Beacon Cottage, the 19th century cast iron water pump, garden sheds, fencing, the dog kennel, the former garage to the east of the bailey and the telegragh poles, although the ground beneath all 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: 32329

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing