Ancient Monuments

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Motte castle and associated earthwork SSW of All Saints Church

A Scheduled Monument in Shawell, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.4116 / 52°24'41"N

Longitude: -1.206 / 1°12'21"W

OS Eastings: 454102.067611

OS Northings: 279589.34522

OS Grid: SP541795

Mapcode National: GBR 8Q2.V6H

Mapcode Global: VHCTL.1NS3

Entry Name: Motte castle and associated earthwork SSW of All Saints Church

Scheduled Date: 25 February 1953

Last Amended: 22 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017549

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17047

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Shawell

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Shawel All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument at Shawell is situated 75m south of the church, between
Lutterworth and Rugby near the southern boundary of Leicestershire, and
includes two protected areas.
The motte comprises a circular, flat-topped mound and surrounding ditch. The
mound is 3-4m high and 35m diameter with an area 10m in diameter on the top.
The ditch measures 7m wide and 1.5m deep on the south side but is not visible
north of the motte. Twenty metres to the south of the motte is a smaller
circular mound, approximately 20m in diameter and 1m high, which is the
only remaining feature of a series of defensive earthworks known to have
existed in the vicinity of the motte castle.

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

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.

Shawell motte castle is a well preserved example of a Leicestershire motte.
Remains of part of the original outlying castle defences also survive and
indicate the extensive nature of the medieval earthwork.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume I, (1907)

Source: Historic England

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