Ancient Monuments

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Wollaston motte and bailey castle immediately west of St John's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Alberbury with Cardeston, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.7042 / 52°42'15"N

Longitude: -2.9946 / 2°59'40"W

OS Eastings: 332889.214436

OS Northings: 312299.559059

OS Grid: SJ328122

Mapcode National: GBR B6.2PDS

Mapcode Global: WH8BP.Z947

Entry Name: Wollaston motte and bailey castle immediately west of St John's Church

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1954

Last Amended: 7 September 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019015

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32329

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Alberbury with Cardeston

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Great Wollaston

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the surviving extent of the earthwork and buried remains
of a motte and bailey castle, situated in an area of gently undulating land at
the top of a south west facing slope. From this location there are commanding
views of the surrounding area in all directions. The castle lies 860m north
west of another motte castle to the south west of Bretchel, which is the
subject of a separate scheduling.

The flat-topped, steep sided oval motte measures approximately 30m by 34m at
its base, 9m by 12m across the top and stands about 8m high. It is surrounded
by a ditch, the northern half of which survives as a visible earthwork up to
1m deep. A cottage, which is not included in the scheduling, has been inserted
into the tail of the southern part of the motte and the ditch. The bailey lies
immediately north of the ditch encircling the motte. Internally, it is
approximately 60m long and up to 30m wide and is defined on the eastern side
by a scarp 1.2m high and on the north western and south western sides by low
banks up to 0.5m high. Although no longer visible at ground level, a ditch
approximately 3m wide, surrounds these banks. It has become infilled over the
years but survives as a buried feature.

There are a number of features which are excluded from the scheduling: these
are the boundary wall adjoining Beacon Cottage running south west - north
east, the associated garden walls and the walls revetting the motte which
surround the northern and eastern sides of Beacon Cottage, the 19th century
cast iron water pump, garden sheds, fencing, the dog kennel, the former garage
to the east of the bailey and the telegragh poles, 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 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.

Although the eastern and southern sides of the Wollaston motte and bailey
castle immediately west of St John's Church have been disturbed by the
constuction of buildings since the 18th century, it survives well and is a
good example of this class of monument. The remains of the structures that
stood on the motte and within the bailey are expected to survive, which
together with the associated artefacts and organic remains will provide
valuable evidence about the activities and the lifestyle of the inhabitants.
Organic remains surviving under the motte and the bailey banks, and within the
ditches, will also provide information about the changes to the local
environment and the use of the land before and after the castle was

The monument remains a prominent feature within the landscape and its
importance is further enhanced by its proximity to the motte castle near

Source: Historic England

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