Ancient Monuments

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Earl Shilton motte and bailey castle

A Scheduled Monument in Earl Shilton, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.5796 / 52°34'46"N

Longitude: -1.3072 / 1°18'25"W

OS Eastings: 447041.539766

OS Northings: 298197.092722

OS Grid: SP470981

Mapcode National: GBR 7LP.6B7

Mapcode Global: WHDJM.WFP9

Entry Name: Earl Shilton motte and bailey castle

Scheduled Date: 3 October 1975

Last Amended: 3 June 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010302

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17035

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Earl Shilton

Built-Up Area: Earl Shilton

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Earl Shilton St Simon and St Jude

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


Earl Shilton Castle lies on the northern edge of the village, west of the
church. It comprises a motte and part of the bailey bank to the south.
The circular motte is approximately 50m in diameter. It is flat-topped but
has a considerable slope to the north. It is 3m high on the south side and
1.5m on the north. The remains of an encircling ditch and part of the bailey
can be seen on the south side although the original dimensions have been
obscured by modern development on the western side. The bailey bank to the
south, rises to about 1m above the foot of the mound and is 50m long. The
extent of the bailey enclosure is today probably reflected in the churchyard
The castle was founded by the Earl of Leicester soon after the Norman Conquest
and demolished in the late 12th century.
Excluded from the scheduling is a fake stone gateway and wooden bridge erected
on the south side of the motte, additionally the stone steps to the north of
the monument are also excluded. However the ground beneath all these features
is included.

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.

Earl Shilton castle motte survives in good condition and will retain
archaeological evidence of buildings within the interior.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cantor, L, 'Transactions of the Leicestershire Arch and Historical Society' in The Medieval Castles of Leicestershire (Volume 53), , Vol. 53, (1978)

Source: Historic England

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