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Motte and bailey castle and line of Offa's Dyke adjacent to Brompton Mill

A Scheduled Monument in Churchstoke (Yr Ystog), Powys

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Latitude: 52.5311 / 52°31'51"N

Longitude: -3.1054 / 3°6'19"W

OS Eastings: 325106.981908

OS Northings: 293151.085522

OS Grid: SO251931

Mapcode National: GBR B2.FL3M

Mapcode Global: VH75P.4N41

Entry Name: Motte and bailey castle and line of Offa's Dyke adjacent to Brompton Mill

Scheduled Date: 19 June 1933

Last Amended: 2 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013496

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19210

County: Powys

Community: Churchstoke (Yr Ystog)

Traditional County: Shropshire


The monument includes the remains of a motte and bailey castle and the buried
remains of Offa's dyke. The motte and bailey lie on the north bank of Caebitra
Brook which here forms the boundary between England and Wales. It includes a
substantial earthen mound, or motte, circular in plan with a base diameter of
33m standing up to 8.5m high. The level circular summit of the mound is 9m in
diameter. There is a World War II Home Guard slit trench 0.8m wide cut across
the summit of the motte. A well defined dry ditch 8m wide and averaging 2m
deep surrounds the base of the motte. The ditch is intact, apart from some
slight damage in its north west quarter. The bailey, in which the domestic
buildings associated with the castle would have been protected, lies on the
south east side of the motte. It is roughly triangular in plan with maximum
dimensions of approximately 44m north west to south east by 40m north to
south. The bailey is bounded around its south side by a well defined scarp up
to 2m high with a buried outer ditch. Around its north east side the original
boundary of the bailey is no longer visible but a modern field bank and hedge
marks its position.
The castle lies on the alignment of Offa's Dyke which approaches to within
80m south of the castle and 24m north of the castle. Although it is no longer
visible as a surface feature within the area of the scheduling, archaeological
evidence relating to the dyke will survive beneath the land surface below and
to the west of the motte.
All modern structures, boundary features and garden furniture within the area
of the scheduling are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath
is included.

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 motte and bailey castle north of Brompton Mill survives well and is a good
example of its class. It will retain archaeological information relating to
its construction, age and occupation. Environmental evidence relating to the
landscape in which the monument was built will be preserved sealed on the old
land surface beneath the motte and the ramparts and in the ditch fill. Such
monuments when considered, either as single sites, or as part of a broader
medieval landscape contribute valuable information relating to the settlement
pattern, economy and social organisation of the countryside during the
medieval period. Offa's Dyke which runs from the mouth of the Severn to that
of the Dee, is one of the major border works of the early medieval period. The
location of the motte and bailey on the alignment of the dyke at the point
where it crosses an important river and the stratigraphic relationship between
the castle and the dyke are of great interest and provide an insight into the
controls applied to the border through a long period of time.

Source: Historic England

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