Ancient Monuments

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Caple Tump, a motte castle 175m south west of Caple Court

A Scheduled Monument in Kings Caple, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 51.9559 / 51°57'21"N

Longitude: -2.6424 / 2°38'32"W

OS Eastings: 355948.4356

OS Northings: 228794.5506

OS Grid: SO559287

Mapcode National: GBR FP.LTC9

Mapcode Global: VH869.43XG

Entry Name: Caple Tump, a motte castle 175m south west of Caple Court

Scheduled Date: 12 September 1969

Last Amended: 1 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014884

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27524

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Kings Caple

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Kings Caple

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle,
situated on a low ridge just south of the main road through the village of
King's Caple, and opposite St John's Church. The monument includes an earthen
motte mound, circular in plan and with a diameter of 35m. The motte's steep
sides rise 3.5m on the north side and 2.5m on the south side, to a flat top
with a diameter of roughly 25m. The remains of a low earthen bank around the
rim of the summit survive up to 4.5m in width and up to 1m high in places.
This bank has been breached in four places where paths have been created on to
the top of the mound. Only one of these represents the original access to the
motte platform, the remainder are of more modern date. Material for the
construction of the mound will have been obtained from a surrounding ditch,
traces of which are visible as a slight depression roughly 8m wide on the
south east side of the motte. Elsewhere the ditch has become completely
infilled, but will survive below ground.
All fences around the monument, and the modern road surface are excluded from
the scheduling, but the ground beneath these features 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.

Caple Tump is a well-preserved example of this class of monument. The motte
mound and bank will contain details of their method of construction, including
post holes for revetments and palisades, and foundations for the wooden or
stone tower. Evidence for structures such as a bridge will be preserved by the
material which has accumulated in the ditch. The ditch deposits will contain
environmental evidence relating to the activities which took place at the
motte and for land use in the surrounding area. The buried land surface
beneath the mound will preserve evidence for land use immediately prior to the
motte's construction.
The motte's proximity to St John's Church illustrates the close relationship
between ecclesiastical and secular power in the medieval period, and when
viewed in association with other defensive sites in the area the monument
contributes to our understanding of the medieval political and social
organisation of the county. The motte is a prominent local landmark, and
continues to be used for community events.

Source: Historic England

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