Ancient Monuments

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Motte castle at Motley's Copse

A Scheduled Monument in Rowlands Castle, Hampshire

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Latitude: 50.9035 / 50°54'12"N

Longitude: -0.9733 / 0°58'23"W

OS Eastings: 472291.81937

OS Northings: 112061.986601

OS Grid: SU722120

Mapcode National: GBR CDF.6RH

Mapcode Global: FRA 86VQ.8N6

Entry Name: Motte castle at Motley's Copse

Scheduled Date: 5 February 1951

Last Amended: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019111

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32547

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Rowlands Castle

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Blendworth Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth


The monument includes a small motte, probably dating to the 11th or 12th
century, situated on level ground within Motleys Copse near Rowlands Castle.
It includes a roughly circular inner platform, 12m in diameter, enclosed by a
flat topped earthen bank, 8m wide and up to 0.8m high, and an outer ditch, 9m
wide and 0.5m deep. The inner platform is elevated up to 1.3m above the
surrounding woodland, with no trace of internal features. A possible original
entrance is indicated by a slight lowering of the bank on the northern side
and a causeway, 7m wide, across the outer ditch. To the south east, the ditch
has been widened away from the motte, possibly as a result of later quarrying,
to form a shallow pond, up to 2m deep and 12m across.
Although undated, the motte is probably broadly contemporary with a larger
ringwork and bailey situated 200m to the north east, which is the subject of a
separate scheduling. Both of these monuments fall within the boundaries of the
medieval royal hunting forest of Bere and form part of the Hundred of
Finchdean owned by Robert, Earl of Arundel. The motte may therefore represent
a small seige castle erected against the ringwork and bailey by Henry I before
he banished Robert of Arundel from the kingdom in 1101.
The modern fence posts which cross the monument are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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 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 at Motleys Copse survives well, despite some disturbance
caused by later quarrying. It can be expected to retain important
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the original
construction of the monument and its later use. It forms part of a group of
three or four well preserved mottes and ringworks, including Rowlands Castle
to the south east, which lie in close proximity within the boundaries of the
medieval forest of Bere and for which documentary evidence survives of an
historical association with Robert, Earl of Arundel.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cox, P W, The survey and excavation of earthworks near Motley's Copse, (1984)
Williams-Freeman, JP, Introduction to field archaeology as illustrated by Hampshire, (1915), 379
Hughes, M F, 'Landscape Hist' in Hampshire Castles and the Landscape 1066-1216, , Vol. 11, (1989), 39,56

Source: Historic England

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