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Wilcott Castle Mound

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ37971852
Latitude 52.76071° Longitude -2.92063°

Wilcott Castle Mound has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a probable Masonry Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The motte castle south east of Wilcot Hall survives well and is a good example of its class. It will retain archaeological information relating to its construction and the character of occupation here. The mound also preserves the foundation remains of a major tower keep of unknown date. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was built will be preserved sealed beneath the mound and in the lower sediments of the ditch fill. Such motte castles, when considered as a single site or as part of a broader medieval landscape, contribute valuable information concerning the settlement pattern, economy and social stucture of the countryside during the medieval period.
The monument includes the remains of a motte castle situated on the northern end of a low spur east of the village of Wilcott and overlooking the valley of a small stream to the north west. It includes a well defined castle mound, or motte, which is circular in plan and has a base diameter of 42m. The motte is positioned on the tip of the spur using the natural defensive strength of its position to maximum effect. Around the north side of the site the slope of the motte and the natural slope of the spur merge so that the motte summit stands 9.2m above the wet ground to the north, and there is no outer ditch. Around the south side, where the natural slope of the spur top rises slightly away from the motte, the motte stands approximately 3.9m high and is separated from the spur by a curving ditch 4m wide and 0.2m deep cut across the line of the spur. The summit of the motte has a maximum diameter of 26m and is hollowed at centre to a depth of 2.4m forming a depression 21m in diameter. This is believed to represent the foundations of a circular tower which originally occupied the motte summit. At the centre of the depression a circular hollow 4m in diameter and 2m deep represents an early investigation of the site. The south western quarter of the bank formed around the edge of the central depression has also been cut at some time in the past, creating an entrance gap 4m wide into the motte interior. No bailey associated with the motte has yet been traced. (Scheduling Report)

A ringwork; the perimeter ditch to the S is now barely distinguishable (1977. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ31NE4)
The motte at Wilcott lies at the northern end of a natural bank. A ditch now 1ft deep separates it from the higher land to the south, whilst other sides are defended by swampy ground, through which a stream runs. The motte, which has a hollow 6ft deep in its summit, rises steeply to a height of 30ft above the low ground, but is only 12ft above the bottom of the semi-circular ditch to the S (VCH 1908). (Shropshire HER)

The motte at Wilcott lies at the Northern end of a natural bank. A ditch now one foot deep separates it from the higher land to the south, whilst the other sides are defended by swampy ground, through which a stream runs. The motte, which has a hollow 6 foot deep in its summit, rises steeply to a height of 30 foot above the low ground, but is only 12 ft above the bottom of the semi-circular ditch to the south (VCH 1908).
A ringwork; the perimeter ditch to the south is now barely distinguishable (F1 MHB 19-APR-72).
An early Norman motte cum ringwork situated upon a north-east to south-west ridge, at the edge of steep, north-west facing slopes to a stream, within what was formerly probably wet or boggy ground. The earthen mound, under grass and covered with trees, measures overall, 44.0m. in diameter, and rises 3.5m. above the ridge top on the south-west and on the south east, but 5.0m. on the north-west, and 6.5m. on the north-east, but here the ground has been disturbed by being cut away for a roadway. A bank around the summit of the mound is from 1.0 to 2.0m. in height internally, and is some 6.0m. in width. The enclosed area is 18.0m. in diameter. At the centre is a depression, 4.0m. across and 1.0m. deep. The bank has been lowered about 1.0m. on the south-west, probably the site of the original entrance, and on the south-east, probably a later mutilation. There are remains of an encircling ditch on the east. It is 5.0m. in width, and 0.3m. in depth, and extends for 15.0m, but probably formerly continued around the south and west sides across the ridge, but would have been unnecessary on the steep north-west side. The motte has been dug into on the south-west for its sand content, but is otherwise in fair condition (F2 ASP 03-JAN-80). (PastScape)

Seems to have been considered a simple ringwork by D.J.C. King but at some point seems to have been reinterpreted as a motte with a hollow on the top; further this hollow is interpreted as evidence of a masonry round tower. The round tower suggestion appears in the scheduling report of 1995 but it is not clear who is making this suggestion. It should be noted that although the supposed tower is mentioned in the scheduling report it is not mentioned in the PastScape record (as of 18-11-13). Gatehouse has some difficult with this identification of a round tower for a hollow in the top of a motte/ringwork which is a feature occurring in many mottes and is usually suggested as early excavations (of a type done to dig to the centre of the mound to find burial and treasure at a time when these mound were usually considered as burial mounds)
Wilcott was one of four berewick of the large Domesday manor of Great Ness and this motte may represent the site of the holding of a sub-tenant holding land for military service. The whole berewick was sold to the church for 70 marks in the early C13 by John le Strange.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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