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The Mount motte and bailey castle, 120m north east of Hill House Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Diddlebury, Shropshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.4581 / 52°27'29"N

Longitude: -2.7411 / 2°44'27"W

OS Eastings: 349740.746098

OS Northings: 284724.009618

OS Grid: SO497847

Mapcode National: GBR BJ.LCVL

Mapcode Global: VH83Q.FGRY

Entry Name: The Mount motte and bailey castle, 120m north east of Hill House Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1954

Last Amended: 26 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012856

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19188

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Diddlebury

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Diddlebury

Church of England Diocese: Hereford

Details

The monument includes `The Mount' motte and bailey castle, situated on the
north east end of a low ridge overlooking Corve Dale to the south east. It
includes a motte, oval in plan, measuring at its base 50m north east to
south west by 42m north west to south east and standing to a height of 5.5m.
The flat summit of the motte is similarly oval in plan with dimensions of 37m
by 25m and has a well defined bank around its outer edge. This is best
preserved around the southern half of the motte where it remains up to 4m wide
and 1.2m high. The ditch surrounding the mound is well defined around the
north and east sides where it averages 6m wide and 1m deep; it will survive as
a buried feature of similar proportions around the remaining south west side
of the motte. Material from the ditch has been thrown outwards to form a low
counterscarp bank 4m wide and up to 0.9m high along the outer edge of the
ditch.
A roughly rectangular bailey, which would have provided protection for the
domestic buildings associated with the motte, is attached to the east side of
the motte. It occupies ground sloping to the north and east and has overall
dimensions of approximately 120m north west to south east by 100m transversely
with an enclosed area of approximately 1ha. The bailey perimeter earthworks
can be recognised throughout most of their extent. Around the south east side
they comprise a well defined ditch averaging 7m wide and 1.5m high on its
inner north side, 1.3m on its outer. This lies on a south west to north east
alignment and runs for approximately 70m. At its west end it is overlain by a
small modern farm building which obscures the relationship between the ditch
and the motte, although this relationship will be preserved beneath the
building. A causeway 3m wide crosses the ditch 14m from the east face of the
building. At its downslope, eastern end, the ditch widens out to form a
roughly rectangular hollow 20m north west to south east by 12m transversely.
From this point the inner scarp of the ditch turns to the north west, running
for approximately 100m as a steep scarp up to 3m high forming the east side of
the bailey. A sunken lane runs parallel to this side of the bailey, possibly
following the alignment of an outer ditch. At its northern end this scarp
turns to the south west as a well defined scarp 1.5m high, flanked by an outer
ditch 8m wide and 0.5m deep. Both scarp and ditch fade out after approximately
100m, the scarp curving at its western end in towards the motte. The
relationship between this earthwork and the motte is obscured by a later
hedgeline.
The bailey is split into two portions by a low north west facing scarp 0.5m
high, which lies on a south west to north east alignment joining the outer
bank of the motte with the eastern side of the bailey. The interior ground
surface of both parts of the bailey contain a number of irregular earthworks
which probably relate to the occupation of the bailey.
The metalled surface of the lane to the immediate east of the bailey, sections
of farm buildings and fences which fall within the area of the scheduling are
excluded though the ground beneath is included. The remains of the small
chapel to the west of the motte are not included in the scheduling, protection
by listing being more appropriate.

MAP EXTRACT
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 Mount motte and bailey castle survives well and is a fine example of its
class. It will retain archaeological information concerning the methods used
in its construction and the date and nature of its occupation. Environmental
evidence relating to the landscape in which it was constructed will be
preserved on the old land surface beneath the motte and in the fills of the
ditches. Such motte and bailey castles provide valuable information concerning
the settlement pattern and social organisation of the countryside during the
medieval period and in this respect the proximity of the remains of a small
chapel, Listed Grade II, incorporated into the modern farm buildings is of
interest.

Source: Historic England

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