Ancient Monuments

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Castle Hill motte and bailey castle

A Scheduled Monument in Tong, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.6692 / 52°40'9"N

Longitude: -2.3056 / 2°18'20"W

OS Eastings: 379430.437269

OS Northings: 307987.387307

OS Grid: SJ794079

Mapcode National: GBR 06W.RWS

Mapcode Global: WH9DC.K59K

Entry Name: Castle Hill motte and bailey castle

Scheduled Date: 9 November 1972

Last Amended: 7 June 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019202

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33805

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Tong

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Tong St Bartholomew

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte and bailey
castle known as Castle Hill, in the hamlet of Tong Norton. The castle is
probably that mentioned in a charter dated 1185-90, although it is unclear
whether an earlier documentary reference to a castle at Tong in 1098 relates
to this site or to the castle 1.1km to the south west (mostly destroyed by the
construction of the M54). It is probable that land referred to as `Olde
Castle' in a document dated 1320 is the castle at Tong Norton, indicating that
the castle may have been abandoned by that time.
The motte has been formed from a natural steep-sided, flat-topped knoll of red
sandstone beside the River Wolfe, which is surrounded by gently undulating
land. This kidney-shaped mound measures approximately 40m by 55m at its base,
28m by 33m (maximum dimensions) across the top and is between 5m and 2.5m
high. The sides of the knoll may have been artifically enhanced to increase
its defensiveness. To the south of the mound lies a triangular shaped bailey,
measuring 40m by 65m internally (maximum dimensions). It is defined on its
eastern side by a well-defined scarp, up to 0.8m high, created by cutting into
the natural slope. On its western side it is defined by a natural slope,
possibly artifically enhanced, that falls towards the River Wolfe.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them 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.

Castle Hill motte and bailey castle at Tong Norton is a well-preserved example
of this class of monument. Extensive 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 lifestyle of the site's inhabitants. Documentary
references provide valuable information about the length of its occupation,
believed to be some 200 years, in relation to the nearby castle to the south
The monument remains a prominent feature within the landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Renn, D, Norman Castles in Britain, (1969), 324
Auden, J E, 'Bygones, 2nd Series' in Bygones, 2nd Series, , Vol. 5, (1898), 407

Source: Historic England

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