Ancient Monuments

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Motte castle 150m south of Jubilee Wood, Hartham Park

A Scheduled Monument in Corsham, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4503 / 51°27'1"N

Longitude: -2.206 / 2°12'21"W

OS Eastings: 385781.855854

OS Northings: 172387.821043

OS Grid: ST857723

Mapcode National: GBR 1R8.13D

Mapcode Global: VH969.QT42

Entry Name: Motte castle 150m south of Jubilee Wood, Hartham Park

Scheduled Date: 22 October 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011307

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19044

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Corsham

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Greater Corsham

Church of England Diocese: Bristol


The monument includes a motte castle situated on a flat hilltop above the
valley of By Brook. The motte survives as a substantial mound 25m in diameter
and 3.4m high built of earth and oolite rubble construction. The summit of
the mound is flat with a diameter of 10m. A rectangular depression in the
centre and two square concrete plinths mark the site of a water tank now
removed. There is a lowering of the top of the motte on the south side
approached by a stone and earth ramp, possibly associated with the water tank.
There is no surface indication of the surrounding perimeter ditch from which
material for the construction of the mound would have been quarried. This will
however, survive as a buried feature c.2m wide. The two concrete plinths are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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 at Hartham Park survives comparatively well as a good example of its
class and is significant in understanding the historical development of the
area. Archaeological material relating both to the structure of the motte and
its occupation will survive within the mound and the surrounding ditch.
Environmental material relating to the landscape in which the monument was
constructed will be preserved on the old land surface sealed beneath the
mound, and in the buried ditch fills.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 169
NAR ST 87 SE 4,
Title: Ordnance Survey 1" Map
Source Date: 1828

Title: Tithe Map and Award
Source Date: 1837

Source: Historic England

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