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Motte castle known as The Mount, 440m south west of St Mary's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Otley, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.145 / 52°8'42"N

Longitude: 1.2181 / 1°13'5"E

OS Eastings: 620281.322677

OS Northings: 254522.442948

OS Grid: TM202545

Mapcode National: GBR VN4.GRL

Mapcode Global: VHLBG.2B9Y

Entry Name: Motte castle known as The Mount, 440m south west of St Mary's Church

Scheduled Date: 13 October 1954

Last Amended: 27 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017916

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30527

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Otley

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Otley St Mary

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a motte castle known as The Mount, which is situated
near the upper edge of a north east facing slope, at the end of a broad, low
ridge above the valley of a small stream, The Gull. From this position it
overlooks the village of Otley to the north and the road to Clopton and
Grundisburgh which follows the course of the stream to the east.
The motte is visible as a large, sub-circular mound measuring approximately
50m in diameter at the base and standing to a height of approximately 4m. The
lower sides are steeply sloped and the top, which measures up to 37m in
diameter, is slightly, but asymmetrically convex in profile, highest on the
north side, rather than completely level. The mound is encircled by a wide
ditch which has become largely infilled but which will survive as a buried
feature. On the south west side, where this ditch is not under cultivation, it
is visible as a hollow up to 18m in width and approximately 1m in depth below
the surface of the adjoining field. Elsewhere it can be traced as a slightly
dished platform or a gentle inward slope to the base of the mound.

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.

The motte castle known as The Mount is a good example of this type of
fortification and is sited characteristically to dominate the village of Otley
and one of the approaches to it. The mound remains an impressive feature and
will contain archaeological evidence for the timber structures which
originally stood upon it, as well as other evidence relating to its original
construction and subsequent use. Further archaeological remains will be
contained in deposits in the infill of the ditch, and evidence for earlier
land use, predating the construction of the castle, is also likely to be
preserved in soils buried beneath the mound.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Suffolk: Volume I, (1911), 603
CUCAP (St Joseph) HN 8, (1952)
Healy, F, (1986)
Kemp, F S, (1996)
SAU DG 1, (1976)
Suffolk Coastal; Otley, OTY 002, Record No 11184, (1990)
Title: Ordnance Survey 6"
Source Date: 1928

Source: Historic England

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