Ancient Monuments

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Motte castle 50m north of Village Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Worthen with Shelve, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.6142 / 52°36'51"N

Longitude: -3.0054 / 3°0'19"W

OS Eastings: 332025.327842

OS Northings: 302302.536746

OS Grid: SJ320023

Mapcode National: GBR B6.86S3

Mapcode Global: WH8C2.TK26

Entry Name: Motte castle 50m north of Village Farm

Scheduled Date: 13 March 1969

Last Amended: 22 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012861

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19194

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Worthen with Shelve

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Worthen

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes a motte castle situated at the north end of a steep
ridge of high ground formed between tributaries of the Rea Brook. The position
of the motte has been chosen for its strategic strength overlooking the valley
routeway from Shrewsbury to Montgomery which lies to the north. It includes a
circular motte with a base diameter of 21m standing to a height of 4m. Where
exposed the interior fabric of the motte appears to be natural rock,
suggesting that an existing rock outcrop has been used as the basis for the
motte. The summit of the mound has been eroded to a slightly rounded profile
and has a plan diameter of 9m. The remains of a surrounding ditch are visible
around the north east, west and south west sides of the motte; it averages 4m
in width and 1m deep.

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.

The motte castle 50m north of Village Farm, Worthen survives well and is a
good example of its class. It will retain archaeological information relating
to the materials and techniques used in its construction and to the date and
nature of its occupation. Environmental information relating to the landscape
in which it was constructed will be preserved sealed on the old land surface
within the motte and in the ditch fill. Such motte castles provide valuable
information concerning the settlement pattern and social organisation of the
countryside during the medieval period. Worthen motte is one of a series of
small motte castles strategically positioned to control side valleys on the
south side of the main valley pass between Shrewsbury and Montgomery.
Considered as a group each contributes important information concerning the
medieval management of this important routeway between England and Wales.

Source: Historic England

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