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Motte and bailey castle 130m north west of Manor Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Ratley and Upton, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.1228 / 52°7'21"N

Longitude: -1.4449 / 1°26'41"W

OS Eastings: 438101.887373

OS Northings: 247306.104508

OS Grid: SP381473

Mapcode National: GBR 6QL.TT3

Mapcode Global: VHBYB.XX02

Entry Name: Motte and bailey castle 130m north west of Manor Farm

Scheduled Date: 13 January 1961

Last Amended: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016917

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21622

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Ratley and Upton

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Ratley St Peter ad Vincula

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument is situated on the south western outskirts of the village of
Ratley and includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte and bailey

The castle occupies a commanding position on a small hill where the ground
falls away steeply on all sides. The flat-topped motte is located in the
central part of the site and has been artificially raised. It measures 13m
across its summit and stands approximately 6m above the surrounding ditch. The
motte has two associated baileys, one to the north west; the other lies south
east of the motte. The former has a `D'-shaped plan and is bounded by an
earthen bank and a rock-cut ditch, whilst the southern bailey measures
approximately 20m across and is enclosed by an irregular bank which is most
evident along the east side. Small-scale excavations between 1968 and 1973 of
the northern bailey have provided evidence for the occupation of the castle
and demonstrated that part of this bailey has been slightly modified by later
quarrying. The footings of a stone structure were located at the northernmost
edge of the bailey. Artefacts recovered during the excavation include 12th and
13th century pottery and fragments of bronze. Archaeological investigation of
the break in the northern bailey bank indicated that this is a modern gap
rather than the original entrance and the medieval access into the castle is
believed to have been by means of a bridge.

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

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 130m north west of Manor Farm survives well and is
a good example of this type of monument. Archaeological excavations within the
northern bailey have revealed structural and artefactual remains dating from
the 12th and 13th centuries and further evidence of medieval structures and
for the economy of the castle's inhabitants will exist beneath the ground
surface. Only a small proportion of the site has been excavated and
substantial deposits will thus survive undisturbed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Wilson, D M, Hurst, G, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Warwickshire: Ratley and Upton, , Vol. 13, (1969), 260

Source: Historic England

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