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Whattal; The Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Crose Mere; Stocgete; Stockett; Kenwick Park

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ43113069
Latitude 52.87058° Longitude -2.84662°

Whattal; The Castle has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Although the motte castle on the north bank of Crose Mere 730m south west of Whattal Farm has been the subject of some disturbance in modern times it remains a good example of this class of monument. The motte will retain evidence of its construction and the buried remains of the structures built upon its summit. These structural remains, together with the associated artefacts and organic remains, will provide valuable evidence about the lifestyles of those who inhabited the castle. The small-scale archaeological excavation has given a clear indication of the nature of the deposits within the ditch and the types of artefacts and organic remains which have been preserved. It is also expected that organic remains will be preserved in the buried ground surfaces beneath the motte and the rampart, which will provide information about the local environment and the use of the land prior to the construction of the motte.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle, occupying a natural defensive position on top of a low ridge separating Crose Mere from Whattal Moss. From this location there are extensive views of the surrounding country, particularly to the south and west. The oval-shaped motte measures approximately 36m by 56m at its base and 22m by 42m across the top. In order to create a level building platform over the natural ridge the north eastern and south western sides of the motte were built to a greater height than to the east. The north eastern and south western sides are both about 3.3m high, while the eastern side stands to a height of 1.6m. On the north western side the motte is defined by a ditch, 11m wide. The south western part of the ditch is bounded by an external rampart, which lies at the base of a natural depression. The rampart is between 12m and 13m wide, and for much of its length is just over 2m high. The north eastern part of the ditch has been infilled, but it will survive as a buried feature. A slightly sunken trackway cuts across the earthworks and part of the south west side of the motte has been quarried for soil. In the late 19th century an archaeological excavation was undertaken here and a trench dug across the ditch. The lower deposits in the ditch were found to be waterlogged and in the upper deposits animal bones, a cylindrical piece of iron and a fragment of bronze, possibly part of a sword sheath, were discovered. (Scheduling Report)

Currently interpreted as a good example of a medieval motte (earthwork castle) overlooking both Crose Mere and Whattal Moss, this site has also in the past been seen as an Iron Age settlement.
Low peninsular, between Crose Mere and Whattall Moss called Stockett, has been entrenched and perhaps stockaded. In 1872 or 1864 (TSAHS 1892) the water level of Crose Mere, Sweat Mere and Whattal Moss was lowered. Prior to this it was probably a single sheet of water (TSAHS 1887-8).
Excavation in c1894 of the ditch at SJ4309 3068 showed that it had been steeper, filled with water and had connected Crosemere with Whattall Moss. The mound west of the ditch had also been higher. Animal bones, a cylindrical piece of iron and a fragment of bronze (? part of a sword sheath) found (TSAHS 1909).
Both ends of the peninsular are defended by banks and ditches. On the eastern defences a stone causeway has been found close to Sweat Mere. Among the stones, half a limestone quern found, now in Shrewsbury Museum (Chitty 1947-50).
Possible DMV at Stockett
Traditionally, a chapel located on banks of Crosemere
Earthwork constructed at point where the ridge of higher ground separating Crose Mere from Whattall Moss is at its narrowest. It comprises a level platform of irregular plan and on its west side, separated by a wide ditch, a regularly -shaped bank with an almost level top projecting south from the main ridge. The platform is now split by a probably later track. No defensive banks and ditches can now be seen at the eastern end of the ridge. Two much spread banks at SJ435 305 are probably the result of the digging of a wide drainage ditch between them. Footpath from SJ43573071 to SJ43513043 probably the causeway referred to in Chitty (1947-50) (OS Record Card 1973).
The earthwork is as described. The outer bank and ditch have been reduced by ploughing on the North. There are quantities of modern brick and mortar on the north side of the track through the platform, but these are probably superficial dumping. The land is private with no right of way (Burrow Ian. 1977-Jan-28. Visit Notes).
Slight cropmark features to the east -SA 1364 (Burrow Ian. 1977-May-06. Visit Notes).
The only earthworks are those marked on the OS 6in map and are not DMV earthworks. There are traces of ridge and furrow on the SW side of the mere and there is quite a lot of stone in the adjoining ploughed field but other than this there is no evidence of earthworks (Page 1977).
Scheduling revised in 2001, at which point site reinterpreted as a motte castle, rather than an Iron Age settlement. (Shropshire HER)

This is the alleged location of the deserted village of Stocgete, mentioned in C12 and the traditional site of a chapel - not proven.
There are a handful of similar sites of earthworks suggestive of mottes next to extensive inland lakes (i.e. Hornsea Hermitage and Haughton, Nottingham. Presumably these had some roll in managing the water fowl, reed beds etc. possibly as the home of a warden, perhaps one particularly empower to deal with poachers.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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