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Motte castle at Upper Buckton

A Scheduled Monument in Buckton and Coxall, Herefordshire,

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.3536 / 52°21'13"N

Longitude: -2.9075 / 2°54'27"W

OS Eastings: 338286.050913

OS Northings: 273227.421708

OS Grid: SO382732

Mapcode National: GBR BB.ST0C

Mapcode Global: VH76R.K38J

Entry Name: Motte castle at Upper Buckton

Scheduled Date: 28 November 1934

Last Amended: 18 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014102

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27489

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Buckton and Coxall

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Wigmore Abbey

Church of England Diocese: Hereford

Details

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle,
situated on floodplain north of the River Teme. It is bounded to the south by
a water channel, originally a mill leat, which leaves the river some 700m
upstream and rejoins it beyond Buckton itself. The larger part of the monument
is in a pasture field, however its north eastern side is fenced off and
incorporated into a garden. The remains include an earthen motte mound of
roughly oval form, c.45m diameter south west to north east, and c.35m diameter
north west to south east. The mound is steep sided, rising to a height of c.4m
except to the south west, where the sides are steeper and rise to c.5.2m. The
top of the mound is c.26m diameter south west to north east and c.17m north
west to south east, and the south west end is raised c.1.2m above the rest of
the summit. This raised area extends for c.3m before falling away to a level
surface, which rises again slightly towards the northern end of the motte. A
shallow depression is visible in the side of the mound in this quarter, and a
path has been worn up the edge of this depression to the summit. The motte
mound is surrounded by a dry ditch which has been cut away by the mill leat to
the south. The ditch is most easily visible to the west and south west, and is
up to 8m wide and 0.5m deep. It can be seen as a slight depression around the
north of the motte, extending from the pasture field into the garden, to the
edge of the patio at the back of Upper Buckton Farmhouse. The monument is just
over 1km north west of a similar example at Walford, which is the subject of a
separate scheduling (SM27488). The buried remains of two Roman sites to the
east of the Buckton motte are also the subject of separate schedulings. Within
the monument itself, the wooden fence across the north east quarter of the
motte, and the gate across the leat, are excluded from the scheduling, but the
ground beneath them is included. The paved garden path along the base of the
mound to the south east, and the patio area to the north east, are excluded
from the scheduling, as are the foot bridge across the leat and the wooden
arch at its northern end although the ground beneath all these features is
included in the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

Despite slight alteration of the ditch by the mill leat, the motte castle at
Buckton remains a well-preserved example of this class of monument. The motte
mound will contain details of its method of construction, which may include
postholes and foundations for its wooden or stone tower. Evidence for
structures such as a bridge will be preserved by material which has
accumulated in the ditch. These ditch deposits will contain evidence for the
date of the motte and for activities on and around it. The wider medieval
landscape in which the motte was constructed will be reflected in these
remains, as well as in the buried land surface beneath the mound itself. In
its strategic position overlooking Buckton Bridge, and its location near its
neighbour at Walford, the motte at Buckton forms part of the wider picture of
Herefordshire's medieval defences, and as such is an important element of the
political and social organisation of the county at the time.

Source: Historic England

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