Motte castle 100m north of The Hall, Sandford


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019657

Date first listed: 25-Sep-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Feb-2001


Ordnance survey map of Motte castle 100m north of The Hall, Sandford
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1019657 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 18:13:15.


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

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Prees

National Grid Reference: SJ 58112 34317


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.

Although partially disturbed by the insertion of the reservoir and the overflow pond, the motte castle 100m north of Sandford Hall remains a good example of this class of monument, which was incorporated into a post-medieval landscaped garden. The motte will retain evidence of its constuction and the buried remains of parts of the structures that once occupied the summit. 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 later use of the motte during the post-medieval period as a garden feature associated with the timber-framed mansion and the present hall further enhances the importance of the monument.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle, later used as a prospect mound, constructed on level ground and occupying a commanding position in an area of gently undulating land. It lies within the grounds of Sandford Hall, built in late 18th century, which replaced a timber-framed mansion nearby. Sixty metres to the east of the mound is Sandford Pool, a mill pond, which in the medieval period served as a fishpond. As there is no direct relationship between the pond and the castle, the pond is not included in the scheduling.

The steep-sided circular earthen motte measures approximately 25m in diameter at its base, about 7m across the top, and stands to a height of 5.7m. The size of the motte indicates it was only large enough to support a small structure such as 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 and survives as a buried feature approximately 5m wide.

The motte is shown on an estate map of about 1775, planted with trees or bushes, and was used as a prospect mound, a garden feature on which a summer house may have been constructed. The motte was probably first used in this way when the gardens associated with the timber-framed mansion were originally laid out. A spiral path, partly cutting into the side of the motte, provides access to the summit.

In 1920 a circular concrete-built reservoir, 3m in diameter, was built into the top of the motte. It supplied drinking water to the nearby hall, while a small pond at the base of the mound to the south was used as an overflow. All fences and the reservoir and the overflow pond, which are now both redundant, 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. 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: 33833

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Moran, M, Vernacular Buildings of Whitchurch Area and their Occupants, (1999), 245-46
Rowley, R T, The Shropshire Landscape, (1972), 93
Title: A Map and Survey of the Lordship of Sandford Source Date: 1775 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Map in the County Records Office

End of official listing