Motte castle immediately north west of Middleton Chapel

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019200

Date first listed: 03-Jul-2000

Map

Ordnance survey map of Motte castle immediately north west of Middleton Chapel
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bitterley

National Grid Reference: SO 53977 77362

Summary

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 immediately north west of Middleton Chapel is an unusual example of this class of monument. The mound will retain evidence of its construction and the structures that were built upon it. Organic remains preserved within the buried ground surface under the mound and within the surrounding ditch will provide valuable evidence about the local environment and the use of the land before and after the motte castle was constructed. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by its association with the neighbouring 12th century chapel.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle constructed on a south east facing slope on high ground overlooking the valley of Ledwyche Brook. It lies to the north west of Middleton Chapel, built in the 12th century and not included in the scheduling. The motte was constructed of earth and is oval in plan, and measures approximately 18m by 32m and stands up to 3.5m high. It has a distinct stepped profile, which is believed to be original although the mound may have been subject to later modification. The south western half of the motte is about 2m higher than the portion to the north east, and the southern and eastern sides here are particularly steep. The size of the motte suggests it was only large enough to support a watch tower. Although no longer visible at ground level, a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument, surrounds the mound. This has become infilled over the years but will survive as a buried feature, approximately 5m wide. All fences, the gate post, associated walls, and the surface of the road leading to Middleton Chapel where it falls within the area of the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 33803

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing