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Tong Castle Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Tonge; Tongue; Tong Norton

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ79420800
Latitude 52.66931° Longitude -2.30568°

Tong Castle Hill has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

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 west. The monument remains a prominent feature within the landscape.
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. (Scheduling Report)
Comments

This is not a precursor to Tong Castle which was a strong C11 timber castle replaced with stone curtain wall in the C12. It must, therefore, represent the separate holding Tong Norton, although this a part of the manor of Tonge. Was this the site of the house of a sub-tenant? Who was this sub-tenant? How were they able to have a motte and bailey castle?
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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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.
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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