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Thruxton Tump, a motte castle at Thruxton Court

A Scheduled Monument in Thruxton, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.0073 / 52°0'26"N

Longitude: -2.823 / 2°49'22"W

OS Eastings: 343601.101014

OS Northings: 234637.366438

OS Grid: SO436346

Mapcode National: GBR FF.HQCN

Mapcode Global: VH78C.0TX2

Entry Name: Thruxton Tump, a motte castle at Thruxton Court

Scheduled Date: 7 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015341

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27492

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Thruxton

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Thruxton

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle,
situated above a tributary of the River Dore, on lowland which slopes gently
to the north. The remains include an earthen mound, of circular form, c.36m
diameter at the base, with steep sides rising c.4.5m to a flat top of c.20m
diameter. The mound is overgrown with brambles and mature trees. To the east
the mound has been cut back for several metres and is now vertical; the
present farm buildings stand c.2m away. A reservoir, now disused, has been
sunk about 2m into the top of the mound. The remains of a surrounding ditch,
from which material for the mound's construction will have been quarried, are
visible to the north west. The ditch is c.4.5m wide here, however recent
modifications to the south, south east, and east have obscured the remainder
of its circuit. The motte was excavated in the 1860s by the Reverend Archer
Clive, and was found to contain a simple stone chamber, pottery, iron and
glass bottle fragments and animal bone. Although no burial evidence was
recorded, the stone chamber is thought to indicate a Bronze Age burial mound,
or barrow, which may have originally occupied the site and been adapted for
defensive purposes in the medieval period. The reservoir, all fences
surrounding the motte, and the paved area in front of the farm buildings, are
excluded from the scheduling; however the ground beneath these features is
included. The farm buildings and farmhouse are excluded from the scheduling. A
public footpath runs to the north of the monument.

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 afforestation and an early investigation, Thruxton Tump is a
well-preserved example of a motte castle. The earthwork remains will preserve
details of the motte construction, and evidence for structures such as bridges
will be preserved by the deposits which have accumulated in the ditch. These
ditch fills will contain environmental evidence relating to the medieval
landscape in which the motte was constructed, and for subsequent activity at
and around it. Similarly, the buried land surface beneath the mound will
preserve evidence for the ecology and land use immediately prior to
construction of the motte. Thruxton 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. Its location near St Bartholomew's Church, and Thruxton and Exchequer
Courts, demonstrates the continuity of lordly occupation in the vicinity,
through to the post-medieval period. It is considered that further prehistoric
remains still survive within and around the mound which will increase our
understanding of the technology and burial practices of its builders. The
monument is visible to members of the public using the footpath which passes
to the north.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Archaeologia Cambrensis' in Archaeologia Cambrensis, , Vol. III, 13, (1867), 397

Source: Historic England

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