Ancient Monuments

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Motte castle at Hisland

A Scheduled Monument in Oswestry Rural, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.8405 / 52°50'25"N

Longitude: -3.0151 / 3°0'54"W

OS Eastings: 331721.412085

OS Northings: 327483.873066

OS Grid: SJ317274

Mapcode National: GBR 75.T03V

Mapcode Global: WH89X.NVFR

Entry Name: Motte castle at Hisland

Scheduled Date: 14 March 1953

Last Amended: 15 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013497

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19216

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Oswestry Rural

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Maesbury St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes the remains of a small motte castle situated on the
eastern tip of a low spur of high ground. The motte is of earth and rubble
construction, is roughly oval in plan with dimensions of 28m north to south by
24m transversely and stands to a height of 4m. The motte summit is flat and
also oval in plan, measuring 18m north to south by 11m east to west. A roughly
rectangular depression 4m by 4.5m and 0.3m deep is cut into the eastern
quarter of the summit representing surface disturbance in the recent past. A
ditch, from which material for the construction of the motte would have been
quarried, surrounds the motte. It remains visible around the west and
north west sides of the motte as a shallow depression 4m wide and 0.2m deep.
It will survive as a buried feature around the remaining sides of the motte.
No bailey associated with the motte has yet been traced.
A portion of a barn to the immediate south of the motte and a length of
metalled road to the east, which are within the area of the scheduling, are
excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath each is included.

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 at Hisland survives well and is a good example of its class.
It will retain valuable 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 lower levels of the ditch fill. Such motte
castles, considered both as a single site and as a part of a broader medieval
landscape, contribute valuable information concerning the rural settlement
pattern, economy and social organisation of the countryside during the
medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ekwall, , English Place names, (1985), 260

Source: Historic England

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