Ancient Monuments

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Shocklach Castle motte and moated enclosure

A Scheduled Monument in Shocklach Oviatt and District, Cheshire West and Chester

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Latitude: 53.0516 / 53°3'5"N

Longitude: -2.8456 / 2°50'44"W

OS Eastings: 343414.081855

OS Northings: 350821.424181

OS Grid: SJ434508

Mapcode National: GBR 7C.CR9V

Mapcode Global: WH891.8K6D

Entry Name: Shocklach Castle motte and moated enclosure

Scheduled Date: 29 November 1926

Last Amended: 17 May 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012620

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13422

County: Cheshire West and Chester

Civil Parish: Shocklach Oviatt and District

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Shocklach St Edith

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument is situated in a dingle thought to have been one of the ancient
trackways utilised by the Welsh in their frequent raids into southern
Cheshire. It consists of a well preserved motte 4-5m high and a D-shaped
moated enclosure separated by a small tributary of the River Dee and also a
modern minor road.
The motte, which lies in the loop of the stream offering defence to the N
and W, is protected by a partly waterlogged/silted ditch on its SW, S and E
sides, beyond which is an outer bank. There is no evidence of a bailey
immediately attached to this motte. However, 30m to the E lies a D-shaped
moated enclosure measuring 54m W-E and surrounded on all sides except the S
by a dry ditch.
A causeway crosses the ditch and gives access to the platform at the NE.
Earthworks consisting of banks and a ditch are conspicuous on the platform.
The monument was originally constructed by the Barons of Malpas c.1100 in an
attempt to protect the region from frequent Welsh raids.
The monument comprises two separate protected areas. All hedges and fences
are excluded from the scheduling, however, the ground beneath them is

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.

Shocklach Castle 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.
Additionally the site lies within an area containing the most important
concentration of medieval monuments in Cheshire. These monuments include
two shrunken medieval hamlets, a defended green lane, a Norman chapel, well
preserved ridge and furrow, a ford across the River Dee, and a complex of
communally owned watermeadows.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cathcart-King, D J, Castellarium Anglicanum, (1983), 68
Capstick, B, AM 107 (1987),
Cheshire SMR, RN 1794,
Leach, P.E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Motte & Bailey Castles, (1988)
SSC/RT/JAS, Castletown, Near Farndon, Cheshire, (1986)
SSC/RT/JAS, Castletown, Near Farndon, Cheshire, (1986)
SSC/RT/JAS, Castletown, Near Farndon, Cheshire, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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