Ancient Monuments

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Hardwick castle motte and bailey castle 140m WSW of Hardwick Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Norbury, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.5095 / 52°30'34"N

Longitude: -2.9334 / 2°56'0"W

OS Eastings: 336747.40875

OS Northings: 290590.142666

OS Grid: SO367905

Mapcode National: GBR B9.GSMB

Mapcode Global: VH75Z.36L1

Entry Name: Hardwick castle motte and bailey castle 140m WSW of Hardwick Hall

Scheduled Date: 18 February 1953

Last Amended: 21 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013499

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19214

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Norbury

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Myndtown with Norbury

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the remains of a motte and bailey castle situated in the
settlement called Hardwick immediately below the crest of a low north west to
south east ridge of high ground on the west bank of the East Onny River. The
motte and bailey is positioned at the southern end of the river valley to
control the natural north to south valley routeway between the Long Mynd hills
to the east and Linley Hill/Stiperstones range to the west. It includes a
substantial castle mound, or motte, with a bailey to the north west. The motte
is circular in plan with a base diameter of 27m and standing up to 3m high.
The summit of the motte is flat and has a diameter of 16m. The remains of a
surrounding ditch, from which material would have been quarried for the
construction of the motte, are visible around the north west quarter of the
motte as a shallow depression up to 5m wide and 0.4m deep with traces of an
outer, counter scarp bank 0.1m high. Although it is no longer visible as a
surface feature around the remaining sides of the motte, the ditch will
survive here also as a buried feature of similar proportions. The bailey to
the north west was designed to provide protection for the domestic buildings
associated with the castle. It is now represented by a length of low scarp
averaging 0.6m high which curves approximately ENE to WNW. The scarp appears
to represent the north west end of the bailey, the projected curve of the
scarp indicating that the bailey originally had an internal area approximately
24m north west to south east by 40m transversely. Typically such a bailey
would have had an outer protective ditch, which is believed to survive here as
a buried feature with an estimated width of 4m.

Fencing around the base of the motte and part of a barn which falls within the
protected area are excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath 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 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 140m WSW of Hardwick Hall survives well and
is a good example of its class. It will retain archaeological information
relating to its date, construction and to the character of its occupation,
both in the area of the motte and of the bailey. Environmental evidence
relating to the landscape in which the castle was constructed will survive
sealed beneath the motte and in the lower levels of the ditch fill. Such motte
and bailey castles contribute valuable information concerning the settlement
pattern, economy, social organisation and in the case of Hardwick motte and
bailey, the control of communications in this area of upland during the
medieval period.

Source: Historic England

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