Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Motte castle immediately west of St John the Baptist's Church

A Scheduled Monument in South Moreton, Oxfordshire

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 51.5883 / 51°35'18"N

Longitude: -1.1969 / 1°11'48"W

OS Eastings: 455731.775653

OS Northings: 188025.540163

OS Grid: SU557880

Mapcode National: GBR 914.B6G

Mapcode Global: VHCYN.6BLQ

Entry Name: Motte castle immediately west of St John the Baptist's Church

Scheduled Date: 13 June 1973

Last Amended: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018721

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28196

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: South Moreton

Built-Up Area: South Moreton

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire


The monument includes a ditched motte castle situated immediately west of
St John the Baptist's Church on the northern bank of a canalised stream known
as `Mill Brook' in South Moreton.
The castle consists of a large roughly circular mound or motte, surrounded on
all but part of the western side by a broad, deep ditch which both provided
material during the construction of the mound and enhanced its defensive
capability. This ditch could be either dry or filled with water from the
adjacent stream as required.
The motte stands 4m high and measures approximately 40m in diameter at its
summit and around 50m across at its base. The ditch is 15m wide and although
partially infilled as a result of soil erosion, still stands 2m deep in places
and would originally have been up to 3m or more in depth. The gap on the
western side which formed an entranceway measures 10m wide and would have
contained a wooden stockaded gateway to control access.
Excluded from the scheduling are all boundary fences, although the ground
beneath is included.

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.

The motte castle immediately west of St John the Baptist's Church survives
well as a good example of its class and will contain archaeological and
environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which
it was built. In addition, its close proximity to the church and its focal
role in the development of the village add to its importance and will provide
evidence for the economic and social history of the village.

Source: Historic England


SU 58 NE 22, Ordnance Survey, Motte,

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.