The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Worton Motte

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Over Worton

In the civil parish of Worton.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP43012924
Latitude 51.96013° Longitude -1.37554°

Worton Motte has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Possibly the small mound of a motte and bailey 20m in diameter and 2m high. It was formerly thought to be a round barrow. (PastScape)

The site occupies a hill with gentle slopes to the N and E and a steeper slope to the W. The monument includes a flat topped conical mound made of earth and stone. The mound measures 18m in diameter and stands up to 2m high. Surrounding the mound is a quarry ditch from which material was obtained during its construction. This has become partially infilled over time but remains visible at ground level as a shallow feature 2m wide and c.0.3m deep. The ditch has become obscured by leaf litter on the E side of the mound but will survive as a buried feature. The barrow and the nearby church lie at the centre of an extensive medieval field system, much of which is visible as earthworks OS field investigation 5/5/72 suggests that this is the mound of a small motte and bailey castle with the church now standing in the bailey. Over Worton church occupies the remains of a circular platform on the spine of a steep ridge. Contiguous to the NW is s circular mound OS field investigation suggests that this is the mound of a small motte and bailey castle with the church now standing in the bailey. Over Worton church occupies the remains of a circular platform on the spine of a steep ridge. Contiguous to the NW is a circular mound 17m in diameter and 2m high. Mound is overgrown. Round barrow close to church. Diameter 60' (80m) height 6' (1.75m). C.20m diameter and 2m high. (Oxfordshire HER)

On the hill on which the church stands and just outside the north wall of the churchyard is a mound 198 ft. circumference and 9 ft. high, planted, and having the characteristics of the other round barrows of this district. A report in the parish says that it covers a heap of rubbish piled there at the restoration of the church in 1844, but the present rector (Rev. W. H. Langhorne) tells me that an old inhabitant says that he remembers the mound there before the restoration. On the other side of the valley is Ilbury Camp, a conspicuous object from the spot where the mound stands. (VCH 1907)

The Oxfordshire HER online record has a summary which calls this a 'hlaew', an Anglo-Saxon burial mound. It is scheduled as a hlaew. The suggestion this was a motte appears to come from a field report by Mike Aston in 1972. The suggestion does not seem to have been taken up by other authorities. The situation of the mound, by the church, is suggestive of a motte but the air photo shows ridge and furrow right up to mound with no room for a manorial complex. Also early churches were deliberately sited next to earlier pre-Christian spiritual centres, including burial mounds. The tenurial history, suggesting the manor was held by serjeantry of service in the royal larder is not really suggestive of a castle, although some small mottes in the welsh marches may be of manors of this sort of status. There is no particular reason to think the site of the manor house has ever mover from Worton House, south east of the church. Only careful investigation, probably including excavation, will determine the nature of this mound.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact