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Pickthorne Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Pickthorn; The Castle; Baskerville Hall

In the civil parish of Stottesdon.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO66928402
Latitude 52.45315° Longitude -2.48801°

Pickthorne Castle has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.


Small mound known as The Castle may be the site of the home of the Baskervillles c 1284. Building stones have been recovered from the mound and a long gutter penetrates it from the north (Chitty 1957-60) A ditch is visible on APs. An irregularly shaped mound 56m NE/SW and 34m transversely is surrounded by a dry, sub-rectangular ditch which has an average depth of 1.2m. The mound rises up to 1.9m above the ditch. The SW side of the mound is fairly level but the NE has been partly removed. No evidence of building foundations in the interior, and the site is not remarked upon locally (Ordnance Survey Record Card 1971).
On the UCCAP AP the site appears as a well defined irregular mound, surrounded by a wide shallow ditch which also surrounds a second raised area to the SE, and this may be a bailey (IB comment 1978)
In 1968 L F Chitty summarised what had up to then been recorded about the site (Chitty 1968).
Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1, Low score as one of 46 Motte and Bailey castles (Horton Wendy B. 1990/91. MPP Evaluation File).
The site was considered to be a possible motte and bailey castle and was given a low score in the MPP desk based assessment phase. However, a field inspection indicates that it is in fact a moated site, which occupies a low-lying position and is surrounded by gently undulating land which offers no strategic advantage. The moat, which is now dry, defines a sub-rectangular island apx 30m by 50m. The arms of the moat are between 14m and 17m wide. Material excavated from the moat has been used to heighten the surface of the island by about 0.4m above the level of the surrounding ground. Deeds to the Pickthorn Farm indicate that an old house stood on the moated site until 1760 when it was demolished. The whole site has been severely affected by modern agricultural practices, most notably the partial excavation of the island during drainage works. A range of artefacts has been found during the most recent work, principally late medieval and post medieval pottery. A fragment of medieval glazed floor tile was also found. Half the site lies in a field of long established pasture. The other half lies within an arable field and part of the island has been planted with trees (Reid, 1999). (Shropshire HER)

A small mound known as The Castle, shown on OS 6" at SO669841, may be the site of Baskerville Hall (Mentioned in 1284). There are building stones around the site and a long gutter penetrate the mound from the north (Chitty 1957-60).
An irregularly-shaped mound 56.0m north-east to south-west and 34.0m transversely, at SO 66928402 is surrounded by a dry sub-rectangular ditch which has an average depth of 1.2m. The mound rises up to 1.9m above the ditch. The south-west side of the mound is fairly level but the north-east half has been partly removed. There is no evidence of building foundations in the interior, and the site is not remarked upon locally (F1 DRB 10-DEC-71).
On air photographs the site appear as a well defined, irregular mound, surrounded by a wide shallow ditch, which also surrounds a second raised area to the south-east, and this may be the bailey.
SO 66928402: A Medieval moated site, generally as described, situated on the north bank of a stream, with the deserted hamlet of Pickthorn (SO 68 SE 9) lying on slightly higher ground 200.0m to the north. Trenches 5.0m in width have been dug into the centre of the mound from the north and south, and dumping has partly filled the moat on the south side. Much of the island is obscured by long grass and undergrowth, but the surface is noticeably stony at the centre. Water was probably supplied by drainage from the north and possibly from the stream at the east angle. A roughly rectangular depression here, superficially resembling a fishpond, is probably more recent digging. Traces of a bank 0.4m in height (noted by Burrow (4) as a possible bailey along the south-east side suggest the retention of water along this, the lower side, with a well marked channel leading from the south corner to the stream, probably an overflow. No proper name is now applied to the site and the name 'The Castle' is not known to the farmer (F2 DJC 30-OCT-79).
The moat has been assessed for scheduling, but rejected. As described above, and approximately 50m by 30m. The whole site has been affected severely by agricultural practices, most notably the partial excavation of the island during drainage works. A range of artefacts has been found during the most recent works. Normal planning controls should apply (Reid 1999). (PastScape)

Earlier report of the site consistently call it a ditch mound, but the 1999 Alternative Action Report calls it a moat while noted the damage done to the site by ploughing. It is, of course, not impossible that it was a small motte (of the low building platform type) adapted into a later moated site.
Pickthorn was one of the seven berewicks of the very large Domesday manor of Stottesdon. It was certainly a residence of a branch of Baskerville family (and their hounds) by the C13.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER            
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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