Ancient Monuments

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Castle Hill Motte

A Scheduled Monument in Brailes, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.0582 / 52°3'29"N

Longitude: -1.5529 / 1°33'10"W

OS Eastings: 430750.140157

OS Northings: 240068.631448

OS Grid: SP307400

Mapcode National: GBR 5PW.XWZ

Mapcode Global: VHBYP.1JDK

Entry Name: Castle Hill Motte

Scheduled Date: 29 April 1960

Last Amended: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018858

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21630

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Brailes

Built-Up Area: Lower Brailes

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Brailes St George

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument is situated on the east side of the village of Upper Brailes and
includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle, known as Castle
Hill Motte. In the early to mid-12th century Brailes was part of the domain of
Robert Newburgh, Earl of Warwick, and the construction of the castle has been
attributed to him.

The motte is sited on a natural knoll whose summit has been reshaped to some
extent and artificially raised to create the flat-topped mound. It measures
approximately 24m across its top with traces of a low bank around its outside
edge and is surrounded by a 2.5m wide ditch. The motte stands on an
oval-shaped platform which has been formed by modifying the sides of the hill
to create a levelled area around the motte. Immediately to the north, west and
south west is a further terraced area which, together with the platform, are
believed to have formed a series of outworks around the motte and will have
provided a fairly sophisticated means of access to the mound itself.

All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
these features 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.

Castle Hill Motte, together with its associated outworks, survives well and
represents a good example of this type of monument. Buried archaeological
deposits relating to both the construction of the castle and the activities of
its inhabitants will survive within the motte ditch and the mound itself
providing valuable information on the wealth and status of the castle's

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Chatwin, P B, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeologiacl Society' in Castles in Warwickshire, , Vol. 67, (1947), 11-12

Source: Historic England

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