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Motte castle 150m east of Tump House Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Dorstone, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.0844 / 52°5'3"N

Longitude: -3.0259 / 3°1'33"W

OS Eastings: 329801.200491

OS Northings: 243392.235049

OS Grid: SO298433

Mapcode National: GBR F5.BVF7

Mapcode Global: VH77V.HVPY

Entry Name: Motte castle 150m east of Tump House Farm

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1978

Last Amended: 2 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014543

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27511

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Dorstone

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Hardwicke

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle,
situated on the south west tip of a promontory overlooking the Bach Brook, at
the head of the Dore Valley. The remains include an earthen motte mound,
circular in plan, created by scarping the naturally steep sides of the spur to
the west, south and east. The material obtained by this operation was piled up
to create a steep sided mound, rising some 3m above the scarp, although the
junction between mound and scarp is not clearly visible. The mound is slightly
domed in profile, with a diameter of c.24m north-south at the base, and c.10m
at the top. The scarp has been cut away somewhat on the eastern side by the
construction of an embankment for the now disused Golden Valley railway. To
the south west the motte overlooks an ornamental pool created in the 1970s by
widening the dingle and damming the Bach Brook at the foot of the railway
embankment. The scarp has been undercut to the west and south west by a
trackway, beyond which it slopes steeply down to the pool some 8m below.
In its strategic position overlooking the northern approaches to the Golden
Valley the Bage motte castle is one of a concentration of medieval defensive
monuments in this vicinity. It commands impressive views in all directions,
and overlooks the motte and bailey castle at Newton some 1km to the north west
(the subject of a separate scheduling).
The fence to the north west of the motte is excluded from the scheduling, but
the ground beneath it 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 150m east of Tump House Farm is a well preserved example of
this class of monument, and the mound itself has not been affected by modern
cuttings into the artificially steepened scarp below it. It will thus retain
details of its method of construction, which may include post holes and
foundations for its wooden or stone tower. The buried land surface beneath the
mound will preserve evidence for land use immediately prior to the motte's
construction. In its commanding position, overlooking the northern approaches
to the Golden Valley and the motte and bailey castle at Newton 1km to the
north west, the monument forms part of the wider picture of the medieval
defences of Herefordshire. When viewed in association with the many other
defensive sites in the area it can contribute to our understanding of the
medieval political and social organisation of the county. The motte forms a
distinctive backdrop to the Bage Pool when viewed from nearby houses.

Source: Historic England


Leigh, Judith, FMW report, (1988)
Richardson, R E, FMW report, (1984)
SMR info from fieldwork, Wilson, AM, (1977)

Source: Historic England

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