Ancient Monuments

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Castle Mound: a motte 40m north of St John's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Mount Bures, Essex

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Latitude: 51.9588 / 51°57'31"N

Longitude: 0.7705 / 0°46'13"E

OS Eastings: 590454.17315

OS Northings: 232554.512839

OS Grid: TL904325

Mapcode National: GBR RKW.3MH

Mapcode Global: VHKFQ.91P5

Entry Name: Castle Mound: a motte 40m north of St John's Church

Scheduled Date: 9 January 1963

Last Amended: 24 September 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012056

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20674

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Mount Bures

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Mount Bures St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes Castle Mound, a motte castle situated on high ground
which slopes westwards to Cambridge Brook. The motte survives as an earthwork
c.10m high and 61m in diameter surrounded by a ditch c.3.5m deep and between
10m and 12m in width. The ditch is dry except for a small area on the western
side which is waterfilled. Also on the western side of the motte is a
depression 1m by 0.5m by 0.5m deep which was probably caused by an unrecorded
excavation. A bailey associated with the motte was once situated to the south
and was traceable in 1960 along the western fence line of the graveyard.
It is, however, no longer visible at ground level, having been overlain by
development and is not included in the scheduling, although remains are
believed to survive in the area of the churchyard. To the south-west of the
motte, also outside the scheduling, is a rectangular-shaped area of earthworks
which is considered to be the remains of a terraced garden for the Hall.
The castle is believed to have been owned by the Sackvilles and built during
the reign of either King Stephen or Henry I.

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 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.

Although the area of the bailey has been developed, Castle Mound is well
preserved and will retain archaeological evidence pertaining to the
occupation of the site and environmental information relating to the economy
of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.

Source: Historic England


SMR No. 9161, Information from SMR (No. 9161),

Source: Historic England

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