Ancient Monuments

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St Weonard's Tump, a motte castle in St Weonard's village

A Scheduled Monument in St. Weonards, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 51.9146 / 51°54'52"N

Longitude: -2.7348 / 2°44'5"W

OS Eastings: 349557.26806

OS Northings: 224267.386552

OS Grid: SO495242

Mapcode National: GBR FK.PG8M

Mapcode Global: VH86F.K43K

Entry Name: St Weonard's Tump, a motte castle in St Weonard's village

Scheduled Date: 23 January 1968

Last Amended: 1 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014105

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27493

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: St. Weonards

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: St Weonards

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle,
situated on a natural knoll c.75m south west of St Weonard's Church, in the
middle of the village, which itself sits on a slight ridge between The Gamber
and Garren Brook. The remains include an earthen mound, of circular form, up
to 34m in diameter and c.4m high. The motte's steep sides have been cut into
in the south west quarter by a domestic hardstanding, and from the south east
by an early investigation which has left a hollow, 3m wide at the edge and
c.7m wide by c.2m deep at the centre of the mound. A disused water tank, 1.5m
x 2.5m, is sunk into the summit of the mound to a depth of c.1.2m. The motte
is planted with evergreen and deciduous trees and has a thick cover of ivy and
brambles. It is fenced to the south and east, with a small area of garden
adjacent to the aforementioned hardstanding. To the north and west the mound
descends steeply to the back of neighbouring houses and gardens. Material for
the construction of the mound will have been quarried from a surrounding
ditch, the remains of which were visible to the east until the new school road
was built in 1967. The encroachment of houses, roads, and a water pipe to the
south of the mound, has removed or modified evidence for this feature
elsewhere. The excavation of the mound in 1855 revealed two burnt human
burials under a cover of stones. This suggests that the knoll was originally
the site of a prehistoric burial mound, or round barrow, which was adapted for
defensive purposes in the medieval period. One writer in the mid-19th century
noted the mound's history of use for fetes and dancing, suggesting that its
significance as a focus of community activity survived this period of military
use. All fences around the motte and the water tank on its summit are excluded
from the scheduling, however the ground beneath them is included. The houses,
footpaths, road and hardstanding are excluded from the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 the attentions of early investigators and the intrusion of the water
tank, St Weonard's Tump is a well preserved example of a motte castle. The
earthwork remains of the mound will preserve details of its construction and
its adaptation from earlier burial use. Ditch fills to the west will contain
environmental evidence relating to the medieval landscape in which the motte
was constructed, and for subsequent activity at and around it. St Weonard's
Tump forms part of the wider picture of Herefordshire's medieval defences, and
as such contributes to our understanding of the political and social
organisation of the county at the time. Early investigation has demonstrated
the survival in good condition of prehistoric deposits at the site. The barrow
mound will retain evidence for its method of construction and for further
burials, elucidating the technology and burial practices of its builders. The
buried ground surface beneath the barrow will contain evidence for land use
immediately prior to its construction. Interest in the monument is enhanced by
its prolonged role as a focus for community activity, most recently as the
site of tree planting to celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee. It is a
prominent landmark at the centre of the village.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Robinson, , Mansions and Manor Houses of Herefordshire, (1869)
Wright, T, 'Archaeologia Cambrensis' in Treago and a large tumulus at St Weonards, , Vol. II(3), (1855), 160-73
Wright, T, 'Archaeologia Cambrensis' in Archaeologia Cambrensis, , Vol. 3ser, I, (1855), 168

Source: Historic England

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