Ancient Monuments

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Barby motte castle

A Scheduled Monument in Barby, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.3318 / 52°19'54"N

Longitude: -1.2039 / 1°12'13"W

OS Eastings: 454346.66931

OS Northings: 270710.453618

OS Grid: SP543707

Mapcode National: GBR 8R1.VTV

Mapcode Global: VHCTZ.2NX9

Entry Name: Barby motte castle

Scheduled Date: 12 February 1958

Last Amended: 7 January 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009512

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13659

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Barby

Built-Up Area: Barby

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Barby St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


Barby motte castle stands in a commanding position north of the village of
The motte is an oval flat topped mound standing about 3m above the surrounding
land, with a basal diameter of about 60m. The motte is surrounded by a broad
flat bottomed ditch which is up to 1.5m deep. There are traces of a bank 0.5m
high on the south east side of the site but earthworks of the bank and ditch
on the south of the site have been heavily disturbed by modern housing
development. The site is at present under grass and is used for pasture.
This site, known locally as Barby Castle, is considered to be the site of the
medieval manor house which was located in a defensive position, and trial
excavations within the motte ditch have revealed medieval pottery. In the
early nineteenth century the field in which the monument stands was known as
Hall Close.

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.

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-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.

Only six motte castles are known in Northamptonshire, and of these Barby is
the best preserved example, with the motte mound being well-defined and
surviving in good condition. The site also has considerable archaeological
potential for the survival of environmental evidence from deposits sealed
within the motte ditch and within the mound.

Source: Historic England


Results of trial excavations, SMR Records, information from Christine Addison, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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