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Motte and Bailey Castle 200m North-West of Stowting Church

A Scheduled Monument in Stowting, Kent

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Latitude: 51.138 / 51°8'16"N

Longitude: 1.0327 / 1°1'57"E

OS Eastings: 612253.430378

OS Northings: 142012.469825

OS Grid: TR122420

Mapcode National: GBR TZR.PWF

Mapcode Global: VHKKQ.VNBG

Entry Name: Motte and Bailey Castle 200m North-West of Stowting Church

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1981

Last Amended: 15 February 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012099

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12825

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Stowting

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent


The monument includes a motte and bailey castle which comprises a
central steeply-sided earthen mound, or motte, surrounded by a broad
ditch, with a second ditch defining an outer defended area, or bailey.
The central motte has a roughly circular flat top measuring 35m in
diameter. The large quantities of tile on the surface of the motte show
that this area was used for buildings during the medieval period. Flint
nodules embedded in the upper slapes of the mound suggest that the sides
were paved in this material, perhaps simply for decorative effect. The
ditch around the motte, which was supplied with water from the old
course of the river on the western side, averages 12m in width and 1.3m
in depth, although it has been partially infilled by soil eroded from
the mound and would originally have been deeper. The position of the
access bridge onto the motte is visible as a slight causeway across the
moat on the north side.
The bailey is a flat area of varying width which is raised above the
level of the surrounding land by about 0.5m to reduce the risk of
flooding. In this area would have been sited a wide range of buildings
such as stables and workshops. The bailey was itself bounded by a second
water-filled moat, this one 8-9m wide, which provided an outer line of
defence. This moat has been infilled to a greater degree than the inner
moat and survives only as a slight depression in the field on the
northern side of the castle. The old river course on the western side
was incorporated into this circuit and so is an integral part of the
castle remains.

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.

The motte and bailey castle at Stowting survives particularly well, and
since it shows no signs of having been seriously disturbed it is of
high archaeological potential. The unusual lowland siting of the castle
adds to the diversity of such monuments in Kent, where most of the known
examples occupy high ground.

Source: Historic England


Leach, P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Motte & Bailey Castles, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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