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Worsley Castle Hill

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
All Stretton

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SO46099593
Latitude 52.55853° Longitude -2.79662°

Worsley Castle Hill has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The hill-fort on Castle Hill at All Stretton occupies the summit of an isolated hill 200 ft above a stream, and is defended by a double lines of scarps with some traces of ramparts on the west. A flat space to the east has been supposed to represent the bailey of an earthwork of motte-and-bailey type, but it seems improbable that this was a work of that kind (VCH).
Early castle, SO 461959 (Hogg and King 1963).
The summit of the hill with steep natural slopes on the south side has been artificially scarped on the other three sides to enclose a roughly oval area 20m by 30m. There is a short stretch of ditch and outer bank on the W and an inturning of the upper scarp may indicate an entrance on the NE. The supposed bailey on the E is defined by two old hedgebanks. The work appears to be a small defended settlement of IA date rather than a Md castle but it is impossible to be certain (F1 DJC 12-DEC-72). (PastScape)

A small but well preserved Norman earthwork castle, strategically situated to overlook the main north-south routeway through the Church Stretton fault.
The hillfort on Castle Hill .. occupies the summit of an isolated hill 200ft above a stream and is defended by a double line of scarps with some traces of ramparts on the west. A flat space to the east has been supposed to be a bailey..but it seems improbable that this was a work of this kind (VCH 1908). Accepted by Hogg and King as a castle site. ...The supposed bailey on the E is defined by two old hedge banks... OS FI 1972 (Ordnance Survey Record Card SO49NE6).
The site comprises two concentric scarps and a small subrectangular interior feature 30m on each side and ending against the natural slopes on the S side. The outer scarps are steep and clearly artificial, with a possible entrance on the SE corner. The whole is overgrown ..It date and character must remain uncertain (Burrow Ian. 1978-Sep-29. Site Visit Form).
Numerous small exposures of bedrock visible through the thin soil. Summit/interior is a roughly flat area surrounded by two concentric scarps ending against very steep natural slopes on S die. Short length of ditch and outer bank to W which appears to merge into field bank/ hedge..The level area to the east is bounded by two field boundaries at right angles to each other (Tyler Alan W. 1981-Feb-16. Site Visit Form).Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1, Medium score as one of 20 Ringworks (Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File). (Shropshire HER)

The motte castle on Castle Hill survives well and is a good example of its class. Its method of construction is unusual and demonstrates an efficient use of the natural strength of the hill to create a strategically powerful site with minimum use of material. The interior of the site is undisturbed and will contain archaeological material relating to the occupation of the site. The ditch fill will contain environmental material relating to the landscape in which it was constructed.
The monument includes the remains of a small earthwork castle situated on the summit of Castle Hill, a small outlier to the east of the Long Mynd. The position has been chosen for its strategic strength overlooking the main north-south routeway as it passes through the Church Stretton fault. The earthworks were designed to make maximum use of the natural defensive strength of the hill. The summit of the hill has been cut back around the west, north and east sides to form a steep scarp averaging 2.4m high with an outer berm or terrace 3m wide. Both ends of the scarp terminate on the precipitous hillslope which forms the south side of the enclosure. This artificial steepening of the hill has created a roughly subrectangular motte with a level platform, measuring 20m north to south by 22m east to west. The defences are strengthened around the west side by an outer rampart lm high on its inner, uphill, side, merging with the natural slope to fall some 6m to a lower terrace 4m wide. This rampart runs for some 18m before fading out at both ends on the steepening natural hillslope. The lower terrace can be traced around the end of the hill for some 22m before fading in a similar fashion. A slight inturning in the scarp at its south east corner, along with a lowering of the inner scarp at this position, is believed to represent the position of an original entrance. To the immediate east of the earthworks is a flat area bounded around its east and north sides by a low bank lm wide and 0.5m high. The bank, although superimposed on the adjoining earthworks, is included within the area of the scheduling. (EH Scheduling report, 1994)

There is no dating evidence for this site and there appears to be some level of subjectivity in the alternative identifications of this as a pre-historic hill fort or a medieval castle (Note that, despite the wording of the scheduling report, there is no motte other than the natural hill). However it is fairly close to All Stretton church and in strategic position overlooking the main route along the valley. It is, of course, possible for a pre-historic site to be later adapted and/or reused but there is no signs of adaptation here and the differing viewpoints do seem to agree on seeing the site as of one period. All Stretton was a berewick within the Domesday manor of Stratun (Church Stretton). Eyton states its original name was Alured Stretton and suggests the berewick was the estate of Alurid who was a forester for Henry I. It is not impossible such a person would have a castle, particularly one as cheap to construct as this slightly adapted natural hill. It is not likely this was a precursor site for the major castle of Brockhurst.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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