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Motte and bailey castle known as The Mount

A Scheduled Monument in St. John, Ilketshall, Suffolk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.4383 / 52°26'17"N

Longitude: 1.4838 / 1°29'1"E

OS Eastings: 636889.233497

OS Northings: 287967.902433

OS Grid: TM368879

Mapcode National: GBR XMN.3Z7

Mapcode Global: VHM6H.NZS5

Entry Name: Motte and bailey castle known as The Mount

Scheduled Date: 10 February 1953

Last Amended: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018329

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30547

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: St. John, Ilketshall

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Ilketshall St John

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich

Details

The monument includes a motte and bailey castle situated on rising ground
overlooking a small valley to the south. The motte is visible as a flat-
topped, sub-circular mound approximately 46m in diameter and 5m in height
above the prevailing ground level, encircled by a ditch up to 10m wide and
open to a depth of between 2m and 3m. The bailey which adjoins the motte on
the south side is sub-rectangular in plan, with a central platform measuring
approximately 53m east-west by 30m and raised up to 0.7m above the prevailing
ground level. It is enclosed on the west, south and east sides by a ditch
approximately 13m in width and open to a depth of up to 2m below the external
ground level. A wide drainage channel of comparatively recent date has been
cut through the outer edge of the western arm of the bailey ditch, linking it
to an adjacent quarry pit.

The vertical parts and corrugated metal sheeting which block the modern
drainage channel and cut the western arm of the bailey ditch, modern fences
and a modern pipe and timber upright supporting it are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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 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 known as The Mount is a good example of this class
of monument, with well preserved earthworks. Archaeological information
concerning the construction and occupation of the castle, including remains of
the buildings and other structures which stood on and within the earthworks,
will be contained in the motte and deposits within the bailey. Organic
materials, including evidence for the local environment in the past, are also
likely to be preserved in waterlogged deposits in the fill of the ditches. The
soils buried beneath the motte and the raised platform of the bailey may also
retain evidence for land use on the site prior to the construction of the
castle.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Suffolk: Volume I, (1911), 600

Source: Historic England

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