Ancient Monuments

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Hallaton motte and bailey castle

A Scheduled Monument in Hallaton, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.5626 / 52°33'45"N

Longitude: -0.851 / 0°51'3"W

OS Eastings: 477983.311973

OS Northings: 296705.978997

OS Grid: SP779967

Mapcode National: GBR BRG.7PK

Mapcode Global: WHFKZ.WVY9

Entry Name: Hallaton motte and bailey castle

Scheduled Date: 26 June 1924

Last Amended: 20 February 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010487

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17053

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Hallaton

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Hallaton St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


Hallaton Castle is situated in a prominent position on high ground which falls
away on the north-east and is 0.5km west of the village of Hallaton.
The main elements of the monument are a ditched motte, and an adjoining bailey
enclosure to the north-west side. The conical motte is approximately 50m in
diameter and 7.5m high from the bottom of the ditch, with a small flat area at
the summit only a few metres across. The encircling motte ditch is up to 3m
deep and 8m wide, with causeways on the south-west and south-eastern sides and
a break in the ditch where the bailey joins it on the south side. The
horseshoe shaped bailey encloses an area of about 60 x 30m, and is bounded by
a ditch up to 2m deep and 5m wide and an inner bank up to 2m high. A break in
both the ditch and bank on the north-west side indicates the position of the
entrance. An additional rectangular enclosure on the north side of the motte,
measuring 35 x 25m, is defined by a ditch which survives in places to a depth
of 0.75m. On the south side of the motte there is a further ditch 5m wide
with a bank 8m wide and 0.75m high which projects south for 40m.
A series of depressions on the summit of the motte are the result of 19th
century excavations when bone, pottery, leather shoes, iron articles and
wooden bowls were,found. Evidence was found of iron-working in the bailey and
further small scale excavations in the bailey in 1943 produced `Norman'
pottery. It seems likely that the castle formed the administrative centre of
an estate owned by Geoffrey Alselin and which is described in the Domesday
The earthworks depicted on the 1:10000 map to the immediate east of the
monument are natural features.

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.

Hallaton Castle is the finest example of its type in Leicestershire. Although
partly excavated, the monument survives in exceptionally good condition and
will retain important environmental and archaeological evidence of the Early
Norman period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Liddle, P, Leicestershire Archaeology: The Present State of Knowledge, (1982)
Dibbin, H A, 'Transactions of the Leicestershire Arch. Society' in Hallaton Castle, , Vol. 5, (1882)

Source: Historic England

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