Ancient Monuments

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Castle Hill motte, Malpas

A Scheduled Monument in Malpas, Cheshire West and Chester

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Latitude: 53.02 / 53°1'11"N

Longitude: -2.7672 / 2°46'1"W

OS Eastings: 348631.482121

OS Northings: 347237.4786

OS Grid: SJ486472

Mapcode National: GBR 7H.FLBY

Mapcode Global: WH898.GCH5

Entry Name: Castle Hill motte, Malpas

Scheduled Date: 3 November 1958

Last Amended: 21 March 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012105

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13420

County: Cheshire West and Chester

Civil Parish: Malpas

Built-Up Area: Malpas

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Malpas St Oswald

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument at Malpas comprises the remnants of a medieval castle
surviving as a truncated earthwork cone, situated at a strategic
position on a spur of the Broxton Hills overlooking the town and much of
the surrounding countryside. The site was originally home to the Barons
of Malpas.
The motte lies N of St Oswald's Church, the graveyard of which extends
to the S and W sides of the motte. A bailey was probably originally
attached to the S side of the motte, but is now indistinct and its site
has been considerably disturbed by construction of the church and
burials in the churchyard. In view of the uncertainty over the precise
location of the bailey and the disturbed nature of this most probable
location it is not included in this scheduling.
The motte is bounded by a hedge and chestnut fencing and these are
excluded from the scheduling. The property boundary and the churchyard
boundary to the SE, S and W of the motte are also excluded from the
scheduling as is the tarmac lane to the E. The ground beneath all these
features, however, is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 3 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.

The motte castle at Malpas is of particular importance as one of a group
of early post-conquest (c.1100) mottes forming a defensive system aimed
at curbing constant Welsh raids on the rich farming areas of south
Cheshire. Equally important, however, was the role these sites played in
imposing the new post-conquest feudal order on the area.
Whilst the bailey of this site has been destroyed, the motte itself
remains in good condition and will retain considerable information
relating to its date, use and method of construction.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cordon, M, Archaeological Implications - Malpas, (1979), 5
Cheshire SMR (RN 1689/2),
Leach, P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Motte & Bailey Castles, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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