Motte 160m east of St Peter's Church

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1020268
Date first listed:
30-Jul-1971
Date of most recent amendment:
24-Jul-2002

Map

Ordnance survey map of Motte 160m east of St Peter's Church
© 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.
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Location

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

County:
Devon
District:
West Devon (District Authority)
Parish:
North Tawton
National Grid Reference:
SS 66608 01753

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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 160m east of St Peter's Church survives comparatively well, despite some disturbance as a result of its position within a formal garden, and will contain archaeological information relating to its construction and use. It holds an important location close to the church.

Details

This monument includes a motte situated on a gentle hillslope overlooking the valley of the River Taw to the east of the present centre of North Tawton. The monument survives as an approximately circular mound measuring up to 35m in diameter, up to 2m high and surrounded by a ditch up to 12.1m wide and a maximum 1.5m deep. The mound and ditch are bisected by a field boundary which runs in a north west to south east direction. To the east, the ditch and a small section of the motte are clearly defined within a field. To the west, the motte and ditch lie within a garden. The mound in this western area has been cut on the southern side by two depressions, which are consistent with the area having been landscaped at some time in the past. A small wooden summer-house has also been erected in this area while to the north and overlying the ditch is a large woodshed which abuts a garden wall. Beyond this garden wall the ground surface has been deeply cut away and levelled for formal gardens and further buildings. The field boundaries, statues, garden ornaments and buildings, and the paths which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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:
34286
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS60SE10, (1992)

Legal

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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