Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Motte castle known as Bossiney Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Tintagel, Cornwall

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 50.6663 / 50°39'58"N

Longitude: -4.7385 / 4°44'18"W

OS Eastings: 206572.770153

OS Northings: 88763.437414

OS Grid: SX065887

Mapcode National: GBR N2.76NP

Mapcode Global: FRA 07Y9.ZRV

Entry Name: Motte castle known as Bossiney Castle

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1928

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006708

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 83

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Tintagel

Built-Up Area: Tintagel

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Tintagel

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a motte situated in the heart of Bossiney on a prominent coastal ridge overlooking Bossiney Haven. The motte survives as a circular mound measuring up to 46m in diameter at the base and up to 5.9m high, surrounded by a partially buried outer ditch measuring up to 20m wide and 0.9m deep. The earthworks are best preserved on the northern side.
Bossiney Castle is associated with the Domesday manor of Botcinnii held by Robert Count of Mortain in 1086. He was responsible for building castles at Launceston and Trematon and may have built Bossiney Castle or it might have been constructed by the Earls of Cornwall or their tenant in the 12th century. It was replaced by the nearby Tintagel Castle as the centre of power by the mid-13th century. Bossiney became a borough at this time and elections were held on the motte. It was recorded by Maclaughlan in 1852 and has been re-surveyed several times since.
Modern buildings within the monument are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them is included.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-431892

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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-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 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. Despite some reduction in the height of the earthworks through subsequent landscaping and building, the motte castle known as Bossiney Castle survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, use, social, political, economic and military significance, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.