Ancient Monuments

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Motte castle 200m south west of Bretchel

A Scheduled Monument in Alberbury with Cardeston, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.6999 / 52°41'59"N

Longitude: -2.9835 / 2°59'0"W

OS Eastings: 333635.82302

OS Northings: 311816.627659

OS Grid: SJ336118

Mapcode National: GBR B7.2S69

Mapcode Global: WH8BQ.4DKH

Entry Name: Motte castle 200m south west of Bretchel

Scheduled Date: 23 September 1954

Last Amended: 15 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013487

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19230

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Alberbury with Cardeston

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Cardeston

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the remains of a small motte castle situated on the
summit of a small hill overlooking, to the south, the main east to west valley
routeway between Shrewsbury and Welshpool. It includes a small, steep sided
castle mound, or motte, of earth and rubble construction, roughly circular in
plan with a base diameter of 15m. The motte summit stands 3m above the
surrounding natural land surface and has a diameter of approximately 8m. A
ditch, from which material for the construction of the mound was quarried,
remains visible as a slight surface depression 3m wide and 0.1m deep
surrounding the motte.

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 south west of Bretchel survives well and is a good example of
its class. It will retain archaeological information relating to its
construction and occupation. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape
in which it was constructed will survive sealed on the old land surface
beneath the motte and in the ditch fill. Such motte castles, when considered
either as single monuments or as a part of a broader landscape, contribute
valuable information concerning the settlement pattern, economy and social
structure of the countryside during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England

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