Bicton motte and bailey castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Bicton motte and bailey castle
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2020 at 11:31:03.


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

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 28912 82574

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

Despite the disturbance from later quarrying, Bicton motte and bailey castle is a good example of this class of monument. The buried remains of structures, notably within the bailey, are expected to survive which, together with the associated artefacts and organic remains, will provide valuable evidence about the activities and lifestyle of the inhabitants of the castle. The importance of the castle is further enhanced by its likely association with the motte and bailey castle at Clun.


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte and bailey castle to the south of the hamlet of Bicton. It has been constructed by adapting a low elongated glacial mound, on the eastern side of the flood plain of the River Unk. It is situated 1.9km upstream of Clun Castle located next to the River Clun, which is the subject of a separate scheduling. The close proximity of these two castles suggest that they acted together during the early Middle Ages to control river crossing points and the movement of people along the valleys. The oval shaped motte appears to have been originally circular, approximately 30m in diameter at its base. It has been modified by later quarrying for gravel and now stands to a height of 2.2m. A dry flat-bottomed ditch surrounds the motte, which is defined by an external bank and a small bailey to the south. The south eastern part of the bank is about 8m wide and also stands about 2.2m high. The rest of the bank is now visible as a slight earthwork, having been reduced in height by later quarrying and the digging of drainage ditches. The southern part of the glacial mound appears to have been deliberately altered to form a small bailey, a level rectangular platform measuring approximately 14m by 25m. A former field boundary has cut into the base of the scarp which defines the western side of this platform.

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.

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This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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