Ancient Monuments

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Motte and bailey castle 150m south west of Wilderley Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Church Pulverbatch, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.6101 / 52°36'36"N

Longitude: -2.8379 / 2°50'16"W

OS Eastings: 343358.839361

OS Northings: 301700.476872

OS Grid: SJ433017

Mapcode National: GBR BF.8L0C

Mapcode Global: WH8C5.CNVC

Entry Name: Motte and bailey castle 150m south west of Wilderley Hall

Scheduled Date: 9 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014746

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19198

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Church Pulverbatch

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Church Pulverbatch

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the remains of a motte and bailey castle situated on the
end of a shallow spur overlooking ground falling to the east. It includes a
well defined castle mound, or motte, circular in plan with a base diameter of
26m and up to 5m high with a flat summit 16m in diameter. There is a
surrounding ditch approximately 6m wide and up to 1.8m deep, from which
material would have been quarried for the construction of the mound. This
remains visible as an earthwork around all but the south east side where it
will survive as a buried feature.
A bailey, which would have contained the domestic buildings associated with
the castle, lies to the immediate north east of the motte and has overall
dimensions of 110m north east to south west by 80m transversely. It is stepped
to form two enclosures which run downhill from the motte. Although the area
containing the enclosures has been ploughed in the past, the bailey earthworks
remain well defined. The western enclosure, which has an internal area of
approximately 0.42ha, is bounded around its south side by a strong scarp slope
with an average height of 2m. Around the north side of the enclosure the
earthworks can be recognised as a low spread scarp averaging 1.5m high. The
east side of this inner enclosure is formed by a scarp averaging 1m high,
which cuts roughly north west to south east, stepping the natural slope to
form the contiguous west side of the lower enclosure. Below this the northern
scarp curves around to the south to form the north eastern side of this outer
enclosure before fading out into the alignment of a hedgebank, the modern
boundary of the farm garden. Around the south east quarter the scarp can no
longer be recognised on the surface but will survive as a buried feature. The
internal area of the lower enclosure is estimated at 0.24ha.
All modern hedges and fences within the area of the scheduling are excluded,
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 south west of Wilderley Hall is a good example of
its class. The motte remains in excellent condition and will contain valuable
archaeological information relating to its method of construction and the
period and nature of its occupation, below the ploughsoil. The two bailey
enclosures, although ploughed in the past, remain intact and will contain
valuable archaeological information relating to their construction and
occupation, below the ploughsoil. Environmental evidence relating to the
landscape in which it was constructed will be preserved sealed on the old land
surface beneath the motte and in the ditch fill. Such motte and bailey castles
contribute valuable information concerning the settlement pattern, economy and
social structure of the countryside during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Record 1052,

Source: Historic England

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