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Camp Ring motte and bailey castle, enclosure, fishpond and ridge and furrow 400m east of Culmington Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Culmington, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.4352 / 52°26'6"N

Longitude: -2.7408 / 2°44'26"W

OS Eastings: 349734.748236

OS Northings: 282174.632077

OS Grid: SO497821

Mapcode National: GBR BJ.MRY3

Mapcode Global: VH83X.F1XZ

Entry Name: Camp Ring motte and bailey castle, enclosure, fishpond and ridge and furrow 400m east of Culmington Farm

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1954

Last Amended: 19 September 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012855

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19187

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Culmington

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Stanton Lacy

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the remains of a motte and bailey castle, known as Camp
Ring, an L-shaped enclosure, fishpond and parts of a field system with ridge
and furrow ploughing. Camp Ring motte and bailey castle stands on a low ridge
contained within the confluence of the River Corve to the west and Pye Brook
to the east. The motte is roughly circular in plan with a base diameter of 28m
rising 2.5m above the surrounding ground surface to a flat topped summit 16m
in diameter. A well defined ditch averaging 7m wide and up to 1.3m deep
surrounds the motte. The ditch would have originally been wet and remains
seasonally water-filled around its north east and east sides. Here water-
erosion and stock trampling over the years has flattened and widened the ditch
profile to give a maximum width of 10m. Adjoining the motte and ditch on its
south west side is a well defined bailey, designed to protect the domestic
buildings of the castle. It is sub-circular in plan and is enclosed by a
substantial bank 5m wide and 0.7m high with an outer ditch 5m wide and 0.5m
deep, from which the material for the bank would have been quarried. The
interior of the bailey is roughly at the same level as the surrounding ground
surface and slopes slightly north east to south west. The lowest portion is in
the south west quadrant of the bailey which is subject to seasonal
waterlogging. A shallow channel 4m wide and 0.2m deep runs south west,
downhill from the south west corner of the bailey for 30m before fading out on
the hillslope. A channel 4m wide and 0.6m deep extends from the south east
junction of motte and bailey ditches for 30m to the south east then turns
east, running for some 50m to connect with the field ditch to the east. A
lowering of the bank, with a corresponding interruption of the ditch,
positioned midway along the southern side of the bailey probably represents
the position of the original entrance.
To the immediate north east of the motte is a large L-shaped enclosure defined
by a bank and ditch. The north west side of the enclosure is formed by a low
inner bank averaging 4m wide and 0.4m high with an outer ditch 3m wide and
0.3m deep. This runs north eastwards from the north west corner of the bailey
on a similar alignment to the north west side of the bailey itself. The bank
turns at right angles towards the south east after 80m, fading out after some
20m. The outer ditch similarly turns to the south east and continues for 100m.
It then turns to the south at right angles for 30m then, similarly, to the
WNW, running for 60m before turning to the south west for 30m to join with the
north east corner of the motte ditch. The interior of the L-shaped enclosure
is occupied by two blocks of ridge and furrow cultivation separated by a
north east to south west aligned headland. The western block lies on this
alignment and runs the full length of the enclosure interior. The eastern
block lies at right angles, parallel with the eastern arm of the enclosure and
terminates in the west on the headland and in the east on the west bank of a
small fishpond. The length of the blocks is too short to accommodate the
turning of an oxen team, suggesting that they represent the remains of ridged
cultivation, possibly supporting an orchard. The fishpond lies within the
eastern arm of the enclosure and respects its overall north east to south west
orientation. It is a rectangular hollow 20m long by 12m wide averaging 1m in
depth, bounded on all sides by a low bank 0.5m high. Gaps in the bank at the
north west and south east corners may represent the outlet and inlet channels
linking the pond with the enclosure ditch. Sluices positioned in these
channels would have controlled the flow of water and allowed drainage of the
pond. The water management system of which the pond is a part includes the
ditches of the L-shaped enclosure and those of the motte and bailey. To the
north, north west, east and south east of the motte and bailey, enclosure
and fishpond, are the earthwork remains of an extensive and well defined
system of open fields. These comprise blocks, or furlongs, of broad ridge and
furrow earthworks, the individual cultivation strips averaging 8m in width.
The furlongs, which lie roughly at right angles to each other, are separated
from each other by well defined plough headlands. The furlong adjacent to the
northern side of the L-shaped enclosure including the headlands to the west,
north and east is complete, whereas all of the other earthworks are parts of
blocks of ploughing which have been truncated by modern agriculture. The
complete furlong is included within the scheduling as a sample of the field
system as a whole, and a 10m wide strip is included all around the monument to
protect the stratigraphic relationships between the field system as a whole
and the motte and bailey complex.

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.

Camp Ring motte and bailey castle survives well and is an excellent example of
its class. The additional features associated with the castle, the L-shaped
enclosure, fishpond and ridge and furrow, make the site of particular value
and one of the most informative examples of its class in the county. The motte
and bailey will retain valuable archaeological information relating to the
method of construction and the occupation of the site. The stratified
relationship of the motte and bailey, attached enclosure, fishpond and
surrounding field system provide important information concerning the
development and function of the site throughout the period of its occupation.
Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was
constructed and the economy of its inhabitants will survive beneath the motte
and banks and in the fills of the various ditches. Such complex monuments,
when considered as single sites or as a part of a broader medieval landscape,
contribute valuable information concerning the settlement pattern, the
development of the rural economy and the social stucture of the countryside
during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England

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