Reasons for Designation
Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late
Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended
area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a
substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a
stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the
bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military
operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements.
They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60
with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted
range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular
significance to our understanding of the period.
Despite modification to the southern half of the defensive circuit, the
ringwork 110m west of St Michael's Church is a good example of this class of
monument. In Shropshire, ringworks are comparatively rare in relation to other
types of contemporary early medieval castles incorporating a conical mound, or
motte. The form of the ringwork is unusual in that the interior has been been
partially raised above the level of the surrounding land. Within the interior
the remains of the structures will survive as buried features, which together
with the associated artefacts and organic remains, will provide valuable
evidence about the activities and lifestyles of those who inhabited the site.
In addition, organic remains preserved in the buried ground surfaces beneath
the raised interior, under the inner and outer banks, and deposited within the
ditches, will provide information about the local environment and the use of
the land prior to and following the construction of the ringwork. The field
boundary banks help to demonstate the nature of agricultural practice on the
site following the abandonment of the ringwork.
The importance of the ringwork is further enhanced by its close proximity to,
and contemporary association with, St Michael's Church. Also significant is
its likely association with Aston Manor.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a ringwork and the
adjacent sections of former field boundary banks. The ringwork is situated on
a gentle south facing slope in an area of undulating land. It lies within the
hamlet of Aston Botterell, 110m west of the 12th century Church of St Michael
and 50m to the west of Aston Manor, built in the 13th century. It is probable
that in the 13th century the manor house replaced the ringwork as the manorial
The ringwork is an oval-shaped enclosure, measuring approximately 66m
north-south by 74m east-west. The earthwork defences define an internal area
approximately 32m by 40m and consist of an internal bank about 7m wide,
composed of earth and stone, surrounded by a ditch also about 7m wide,
enclosed by an outer bank approximately 3m wide. The northern half of the
defensive circuit is much more prominent than the southern half. Here, the
internal bank stands up to 1.1m high, the ditch is about 1m deep and the
external bank stands about 0.2m high. To the south the banks have been reduced
in height and the ditch, which has been largely infilled, survives as a buried
feature. To compensate for the natural fall in the ground surface, the
southern half of the interior has been slightly raised in order to create a
level building platform.
To the west and south of the ringwork are the remains of former field boundary
banks, set at right angles to one another. These banks appear to be later than
the ringwork, with one running up to its western edge. In order to preserve
the relationship between the field boundaries and the ringwork a 30m long
section of these banks has been included in the scheduling.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them is included.
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.