Ancient Monuments

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Motte castle immediately north east of Church Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Rushbury, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.5231 / 52°31'23"N

Longitude: -2.717 / 2°43'1"W

OS Eastings: 351446.845636

OS Northings: 291936.879183

OS Grid: SO514919

Mapcode National: GBR BK.G5SX

Mapcode Global: VH83B.VVH4

Entry Name: Motte castle immediately north east of Church Farm

Scheduled Date: 9 November 1972

Last Amended: 14 March 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019014

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32328

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Rushbury

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Rushbury

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle,
situated to the north east of St Peter's Church. The church was founded in the
Anglo-Saxon period but altered following the Norman Conquest. The castle mound
occupies sloping ground, falling away in all directions except to the south
west. From this position there are extensive views of Ape Dale and the
surrounding uplands. The mound is oval in plan, approximately 44m by 58m at
its base and about 38m by 48m across its top. The eastern part is steep-sided
and stands up to 4m high. In order to create a flat top the south western
portion of the mound has only been slightly raised, about 0.5m, above the
level of the surrounding ground. A ditch, averaging 5m wide, surrounds the
mound. It is most evident on the western and northern sides where it is
bounded by a counterscarp bank, about 8m wide. Much of the rest of the ditch
has been filled in, but will survive as a buried feature. The south eastern
portion of this ditch has been substantially modified by modern landscaping,
and as a consequence is not included in the scheduling. The counterscarp bank
has been truncated by the creation of a pond to the north east and farm
buildings to the south west.
There are a number of features which are excluded from the scheduling: these
are the concrete base of the former hen house built on top of the motte, the
water trough, all fences, gates and a stile although the ground beneath all
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.

The motte castle immediately north east of Church Farm is a well-preserved
example of this class of monument, despite some disturbance to the top of the
mound and parts of the surrounding ditch, and the truncation of the
counterscarp bank. The mound will retain evidence relating to the nature of
occupation and the types of structures that were built upon its summit.
Organic remains preserved within the buried ground surfaces under the mound
and the counterscarp bank, and within the surrounding ditch, will provide
valuable evidence about the local environment and the use of the land before
and after the motte castle was constructed. The importance of the monument is
further enhanced by its proximity and contemporary association with St Peter's
Church. The monument remains a prominent feature within the landscape.

Source: Historic England

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