Ancient Monuments

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Bicton motte and bailey castle

A Scheduled Monument in Clun, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.4364 / 52°26'11"N

Longitude: -3.0471 / 3°2'49"W

OS Eastings: 328909.813402

OS Northings: 282567.848077

OS Grid: SO289825

Mapcode National: GBR B4.MNGF

Mapcode Global: VH769.41G1

Entry Name: Bicton motte and bailey castle

Scheduled Date: 13 January 1971

Last Amended: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019658

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33834

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Clun

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Clun

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte and bailey
castle to the south of the hamlet of Bicton. It has been constructed by
adapting a low elongated glacial mound, on the eastern side of the flood plain
of the River Unk. It is situated 1.9km upstream of Clun Castle located next to
the River Clun, which is the subject of a separate scheduling. The close
proximity of these two castles suggest that they acted together during the
early Middle Ages to control river crossing points and the movement of people
along the valleys.
The oval shaped motte appears to have been originally circular, approximately
30m in diameter at its base. It has been modified by later quarrying for
gravel and now stands to a height of 2.2m. A dry flat-bottomed ditch surrounds
the motte, which is defined by an external bank and a small bailey to the
south. The south eastern part of the bank is about 8m wide and also stands
about 2.2m high. The rest of the bank is now visible as a slight earthwork,
having been reduced in height by later quarrying and the digging of drainage
ditches. The southern part of the glacial mound appears to have been
deliberately altered to form a small bailey, a level rectangular platform
measuring approximately 14m by 25m. A former field boundary has cut into the
base of the scarp which defines the western side of this platform.

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 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.

Despite the disturbance from later quarrying, Bicton motte and bailey castle
is a good example of this class of monument. The buried remains of structures,
notably 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 inhabitants of the castle.
The importance of the castle is further enhanced by its likely association
with the motte and bailey castle at Clun.

Source: Historic England

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