Ancient Monuments

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King John's Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Kineton, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.1556 / 52°9'20"N

Longitude: -1.5193 / 1°31'9"W

OS Eastings: 432980.293005

OS Northings: 250924.476121

OS Grid: SP329509

Mapcode National: GBR 6Q3.SV2

Mapcode Global: VHBY9.M24T

Entry Name: King John's Castle

Scheduled Date: 19 August 1959

Last Amended: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018859

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21638

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Kineton

Built-Up Area: Kineton

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Kineton St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument is situated close to the River Dene, on the south western
outskirts of Kineton, and includes the earthwork and buried remains of King
John's Castle, a motte and bailey castle. It is thought that Richard I granted
Kineton to his brother John in the late 12th century who in turn granted it to
Stephen de Seagrave in c.1216.

The motte is located at the south eastern end of the bailey and has been
artificially raised. The flat-topped mound has a diameter of 44m at its base
and stands some 2m high. It is surrounded by a ditch which separates the motte
from the bailey to the north east and is most visible on the north side of the
motte. Most of its circuit has become infilled over time, but the ditch will
survive as a buried feature. The bailey has a `D'-shaped plan and is thought
to have originally been bounded by a bank, which remains visible in places as
a low, intermittent earthwork, and possible a wall. Until recent years the
bailey was occupied by allotments and now takes the form of a raised, levelled
area with the ground falling away gradually beyond.

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.

King John's Castle survives well and represents a good example of this class
of monument. Both the motte and the bailey area to the north east are thought
to retain buried structural and artefactual evidence for the buildings which
originally existed here, and will provide information regarding the activities
and status of the site's inhabitants. Additionally, the silted motte ditch
will retain archaeological deposits relating to the economy of the inhabitants
and the environment in which they lived.

The motte and bailey castle is accessible to the public and serves as a
valuable public amenity.

Source: Historic England


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

Source: Historic England

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