Motte castle on the north bank of Crose Mere, 730m south west of Whattal Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020289

Date first listed: 12-Jul-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Sep-2001


Ordnance survey map of Motte castle on the north bank of Crose Mere, 730m south west of Whattal Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Cockshutt

National Grid Reference: SJ 43106 30696


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of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.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 the motte castle on the north bank of Crose Mere 730m south west of Whattal Farm has been the subject of some disturbance in modern times it remains a good example of this class of monument. The motte will retain evidence of its construction and the buried remains of the structures built upon its summit. These structural remains, together with the associated artefacts and organic remains, will provide valuable evidence about the lifestyles of those who inhabited the castle. The small-scale archaeological excavation has given a clear indication of the nature of the deposits within the ditch and the types of artefacts and organic remains which have been preserved. It is also expected that organic remains will be preserved in the buried ground surfaces beneath the motte and the rampart, which will provide information about the local environment and the use of the land prior to the construction of the motte.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle, occupying a natural defensive position on top of a low ridge separating Crose Mere from Whattal Moss. From this location there are extensive views of the surrounding country, particularly to the south and west. The oval-shaped motte measures approximately 36m by 56m at its base and 22m by 42m across the top. In order to create a level building platform over the natural ridge the north eastern and south western sides of the motte were built to a greater height than to the east. The north eastern and south western sides are both about 3.3m high, while the eastern side stands to a height of 1.6m. On the north western side the motte is defined by a ditch, 11m wide. The south western part of the ditch is bounded by an external rampart, which lies at the base of a natural depression. The rampart is between 12m and 13m wide, and for much of its length is just over 2m high. The north eastern part of the ditch has been infilled, but it will survive as a buried feature. A slightly sunken trackway cuts across the earthworks and part of the south west side of the motte has been quarried for soil. In the late 19th century an archaeological excavation was undertaken here and a trench dug across the ditch. The lower deposits in the ditch were found to be waterlogged and in the upper deposits animal bones, a cylindrical piece of iron and a fragment of bronze, possibly part of a sword sheath, were discovered. All fence and gate posts 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: 34915

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Peake, H J E, 'Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society 3rd Series' in A Few Notes Respecting The Entrenchments At Stockett, , Vol. 9, (1909), ix-x

End of official listing