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Motte castle 100m north of The Hall, Sandford

A Scheduled Monument in Prees, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.9047 / 52°54'16"N

Longitude: -2.6242 / 2°37'27"W

OS Eastings: 358111.904

OS Northings: 334317.466502

OS Grid: SJ581343

Mapcode National: GBR 7N.P52H

Mapcode Global: WH9C1.N8L2

Entry Name: Motte castle 100m north of The Hall, Sandford

Scheduled Date: 25 September 1973

Last Amended: 9 February 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019657

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33833

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Prees

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Fauls Holy Emmanuel

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle,
later used as a prospect mound, constructed on level ground and occupying a
commanding position in an area of gently undulating land. It lies within the
grounds of Sandford Hall, built in late 18th century, which replaced a
timber-framed mansion nearby. Sixty metres to the east of the mound is
Sandford Pool, a mill pond, which in the medieval period served as a fishpond.
As there is no direct relationship between the pond and the castle, the pond
is not included in the scheduling.

The steep-sided circular earthen motte measures approximately 25m in diameter
at its base, about 7m across the top, and stands to a height of 5.7m. The size
of the motte indicates it was only large enough to support a small structure
such as a watch tower. Although no longer visible at ground level, a ditch,
from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument,
surrounds the mound. This has become infilled over the years and survives as a
buried feature approximately 5m wide.

The motte is shown on an estate map of about 1775, planted with trees or
bushes, and was used as a prospect mound, a garden feature on which a summer
house may have been constructed. The motte was probably first used in this way
when the gardens associated with the timber-framed mansion were originally
laid out. A spiral path, partly cutting into the side of the motte, provides
access to the summit.

In 1920 a circular concrete-built reservoir, 3m in diameter, was built into
the top of the motte. It supplied drinking water to the nearby hall, while a
small pond at the base of the mound to the south was used as an overflow. All
fences and the reservoir and the overflow pond, which are now both redundant,
are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is

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.

Although partially disturbed by the insertion of the reservoir and the
overflow pond, the motte castle 100m north of Sandford Hall remains a good
example of this class of monument, which was incorporated into a post-medieval
landscaped garden. The motte will retain evidence of its constuction and the
buried remains of parts of the structures that once occupied the summit.
Organic remains preserved within the buried ground surface under the mound 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

The later use of the motte during the post-medieval period as a garden feature
associated with the timber-framed mansion and the present hall further
enhances the importance of the monument.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Moran, M, Vernacular Buildings of Whitchurch Area and their Occupants, (1999), 245-46
Rowley, R T, The Shropshire Landscape, (1972), 93
Title: A Map and Survey of the Lordship of Sandford
Source Date: 1775
Map in the County Records Office

Source: Historic England

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