Ancient Monuments

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Lilbourne motte and bailey castle and fishpond

A Scheduled Monument in Lilbourne, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.3925 / 52°23'33"N

Longitude: -1.177 / 1°10'37"W

OS Eastings: 456098.468411

OS Northings: 277486.2485

OS Grid: SP560774

Mapcode National: GBR 8Q9.WSC

Mapcode Global: VHCTS.K436

Entry Name: Lilbourne motte and bailey castle and fishpond

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1981

Last Amended: 19 June 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012333

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13658

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Lilbourne

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Lilbourne All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


Lilbourne motte and bailey castle lies just to the north of Lilbourne village,
close to All Saints Church. The castle is located just south of the River
Avon beside a crossing point of the river.
The earthworks of the motte and bailey castle cover an area measuring
approximately 140m x 100m. The motte is a round conical mound about 10m high,
which is surrounded by a ditch 2m deep on the north, south and east sides. To
the south east of the motte lies a substantial peripheral bailey, about 35m
square. The bailey has banks up to 3m high around its inner edge on all but
the north side, and is surrounded by a ditch up to 5m wide. A further bank,
about 1m high, lies on the outer edge of the south side of the bailey. To the
north east of the motte mound is sited the remains of a second smaller
peripheral bailey area, oval in shape. This bailey is surrounded by a ditch
and has a slight inner bank on the south east side.
Lying outside the motte and bailey to the north east is a small rectangular
fishpond which was associated with the castle and was connected by a water
channel to the ditches of the bailey.
The castle is located 800m to the north east of a second motte and bailey at
Lilbourne Gorse.

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.

Lilbourne motte and bailey castle lies within 800m of a second motte and
bailey at Lilbourne Gorse and occupies an important strategic position at the
crossing point of the River Avon. The monument presents a well preserved
example of a motte castle with two peripheral baileys and an associated

Source: Historic England

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