Ancient Monuments

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Motte and associated earthworks east of Old Rectory

A Scheduled Monument in Eaton and Eccleston, Cheshire West and Chester

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Latitude: 53.1589 / 53°9'31"N

Longitude: -2.8776 / 2°52'39"W

OS Eastings: 341418.094051

OS Northings: 362774.254961

OS Grid: SJ414627

Mapcode National: GBR 7B.53HC

Mapcode Global: WH88F.RVXQ

Entry Name: Motte and associated earthworks east of Old Rectory

Scheduled Date: 19 December 1959

Last Amended: 28 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011118

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22591

County: Cheshire West and Chester

Civil Parish: Eaton and Eccleston

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Eccleston St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument is a motte and associated earthworks strategically situated on a
local high point overlooking the River Dee. The monument includes an oval
earthen motte, or mound, mutilated on its eastern side, and partly surrounded
by a ditch and bank with other earthen banks to the south and south-west. The
motte measures 28m by 14.5m by 3m high and is flanked on its north and west
sides by a ditch 8m wide and 0.3m deep, beyond which are faint traces of an
outer bank 14.5m wide by 0.1m deep which continues in a south-westerly
direction for a distance of approximately 17m. To the south of the motte, and
running along the crest above the slope down to the river, is a bank measuring
23.5m long by 10m wide and 1.3m high.

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.

The motte and associated earthworks east of the Old Rectory at Eccleston is
one of a group of early post-Conquest mottes and motte and bailey castles
forming a defensive system, the aim of which was to curb Welsh raids on the
rich farming areas of Cheshire. Equally important was the role these sites
played in imposing and demonstrating the new post-Conquest feudal order on the

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Watkin, W T, Roman Cheshire, (1886), 46
Ormerod, G, 'History of Cheshire' in History of Cheshire, , Vol. 2, (1882), 584,829
Cheshire County Council Planning, Laing, L, (1985)
Leach,P.E., MPP Single Mon Class Description - Motte and Bailey castles, (1988)
Ordnance Survey Card Ref. No. SJ46SW12, Ordnance Survey, Earthwork - Poss unfinished motte,

Source: Historic England

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