The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Ratley Motte

In the civil parish of Ratley and Upton.
In the historic county of Warwickshire.
Modern Authority of Warwickshire.
1974 county of Warwickshire.
Medieval County of Warwickshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP38094730
Latitude 52.12283° Longitude -1.44489°

Ratley Motte 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.


Medieval motte and bailey castle, with possible Saxon origins. The motte measures 13m across at the summit and stands 6m above the base of the surrounding ditch. There are two baileys one to the north west and one to the south east. Excavations between 1968 and 1973 discovered a few C12 to C13 artefacts. Motte built on ringwork, footings of stone gatehouse found. Motte standing on a wedge-shaped hill. It is about 13m across at the top and has very steep sides 5 to 6.7m above the ditch which is formed round it. There is a small bailey on the N side enclosed by a high bank and on the S is an enclosure 20-23m across with a somewhat irregular bank. The whole surface of the enclosed area is much broken, presumably by people digging for stone. The buildings of Ratley village may have been built out of stone from the castle. The Motte must have been crowned by a timber tower, the S enclosure is possibly the site of later buildings, the bailey being too small to contain them in the usual way. Turchil the Saxon owned Ratley and he or one of his sons may well have been responsible for the castle. (Warwickshire HER ref. Chatwin)

The motte and bailey castle 130m north west of Manor Farm survives well and is a good example of this type of monument. Archaeological excavations within the northern bailey have revealed structural and artefactual remains dating from the 12th and 13th centuries and further evidence of medieval structures and for the economy of the castle's inhabitants will exist beneath the ground surface. Only a small proportion of the site has been excavated and substantial deposits will thus survive undisturbed.
The castle occupies a commanding position on a small hill where the ground falls away steeply on all sides. The flat-topped motte is located in the central part of the site and has been artificially raised. It measures 13m across its summit and stands approximately 6m above the surrounding ditch. The motte has two associated baileys, one to the north west; the other lies south east of the motte. The former has a 'D'-shaped plan and is bounded by an earthen bank and a rock-cut ditch, whilst the southern bailey measures approximately 20m across and is enclosed by an irregular bank which is most evident along the east side. Small-scale excavations between 1968 and 1973 of the northern bailey have provided evidence for the occupation of the castle and demonstrated that part of this bailey has been slightly modified by later quarrying. The footings of a stone structure were located at the northernmost edge of the bailey. Artefacts recovered during the excavation include 12th and 13th century pottery and fragments of bronze. Archaeological investigation of the break in the northern bailey bank indicated that this is a modern gap rather than the original entrance and the medieval access into the castle is believed to have been by means of a bridge. (Scheduling Report)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
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.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact