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Castle Bank motte and bailey castle, 150m north west of Woolstaston Hall.

A Scheduled Monument in Woolstaston, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.5812 / 52°34'52"N

Longitude: -2.8128 / 2°48'45"W

OS Eastings: 345023.137269

OS Northings: 298463.981378

OS Grid: SO450984

Mapcode National: GBR BG.BD5Y

Mapcode Global: WH8CC.RDS1

Entry Name: Castle Bank motte and bailey castle, 150m north west of Woolstaston Hall.

Scheduled Date: 16 December 1974

Last Amended: 17 June 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008395

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19146

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Woolstaston

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Woolstaston

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthworks of a motte and bailey castle situated on
a small hill overlooking ground falling to the east. The motte is visible as a
well defined mound 18m in diameter at base rising 3m to a flattened summit 9m
in diameter. There is no visible trace of a surrounding ditch from which the
material would have been quarried to construct the mound, though one survives
as a buried feature 2m wide. The existence of this ditch was demonstrated in
1965 when a small excavation revealed a ditch with a post hole on its outer
edge. Finds from this exploration indicated that the site was occupied during
the 12th and 13th centuries. The roughly triangular bailey lies adjacent to
the motte on its east side and is coextensive with the top of the natural
hill, using the natural slopes of the hill to create a strong position. The
southern side of the bailey is defined by a steep scarp slope which falls 4m
to a deep hollow way which lies at its base and is occupied by the present
road. Around the north side the natural slopes of the hill have been enhanced
creating a steep scarp averaging 1.4m high. There is also some evidence for a
counterscarp bank 0.5m high, apparently designed to strengthen the defences
around this side of the enclosure. There are no visible indications of a ditch
surrounding the bailey although the hollow way on its south side may follow
its original line.
A small underground reservoir (of unknown size), has been constructed in the
north angle of the bailey, the access hatch of the reservoir and the reservoir
itself are excluded from the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.

Castle Bank motte and bailey castle survives well and is a good example of its
class. The partial excavation of the site in 1965 demonstrated the presence of
valuable archaeological deposits and further evidence relating to the
occupation of the site is known, from these excavations, to remain within the
monument. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which
the monument was constructed will survive sealed beneath the mound and in the
ditch fill. Such motte and bailey castles contribute valuable information
concerning the settlement pattern, economy and social structure of the
countryside during the medieval period. The proximity of the parish church,
rectory and manor house to the motte and bailey is also of interest, as the
three sites together illustrate the development of this type of settlement.

Source: Historic England


SMR Record 230,

Source: Historic England

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