Little Shrawardine Motte

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameLittle Shrawardine Motte
Alternative NamesAlberbury 2
Historic CountryShropshire
Modern AuthorityShropshire
1974 AuthorityShropshire
Civil ParishAlberbury With Cardeston

Little Shrawardine motte and bailey castle is a well-preserved example of this class of monument, despite damage to the north eastern side of the bailey. The buried 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 the life style of the inhabitants. Organic remains surviving under the motte and the bailey bank, and within the ditches, will also provide information about the changes to the local environment and the use of the land before and after the castle was constructed. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by its association with the motte and bailey castle at Shrawardine and its military role during World War II. The monument remains a prominent feature within the landscape.

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte and bailey castle, situated next to the steep southern bank of the River Severn, with a commanding position of the flood plain of the river to the north and west. It is believed to have controlled a crossing point across the Severn and to have regulated river traffic approaching Shrewsbury from the west. A second motte and bailey castle, 800m to the north east, on the northern side of the river is considered to have served a similar function and is the subject of a separate scheduling. The commanding views from the top of the motte at Little Shrawardine led to its use during World War II as an observation post.

The flat-topped, steep-sided oval motte stands about 9m high and measures approximately 45m by 60m across at its base and 12m by 16m across the top. It is surrounded by a ditch, except on its northern side where there is a thin strip of land adjoining the river, which regularly floods in winter. The southern part of the ditch is considerably deeper than that to north

The bailey, which lies to the north east of the motte, measures 40m by 65m internally (maximum dimensions). The north western side coincides with the steep escarpment above the river, and its south western side is defined by a low bank, which survives to a height of 0.8m. Although no longer visible at ground level, an external ditch, approximately 5m wide, survives next to the bank. It has become infilled over the years and survives as a buried feature. The north eastern side of the bailey has been truncated by a steep cutting for former railway sidings and is thus not included in the scheduling. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Little Shrawardine is not mentioned by Eyton in his county histories. It is on the other side of the River Severn from Shrawardine in a different parish but the name may suggest the place was considered as part of Shrawardine manor. It may well be that, in this case, this was a de novo castle built to control a river crossing and garrisoned by a handful of troop under supervision from Shrawardine Castle. However it should be noted that, as usual, a farm stands beside the castle remains and it is also possible this site was always a small farmstead held by tenure of military service with a motte mainly symbolic of that social status rather than being really defensive.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSJ393151
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Duckers, Peter and Anne, 2006, Castles of Shropshire (Stroud: Tempus) p. 99-100
  • Salter, Mike, 2001 (2edn), The Castles and Moated Mansions of Shropshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 51
  • Jackson, M.J.,1988, Castles of Shropshire (Shrewsbury: Shropshire Libraries) p. 52
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 420
  • Rees, W., 1933, Historical map of South Wales and the Borders in the C14
  • Wall (after Downham), 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Shropshire Vol. 1 p. 390 (plan)


  • King, D.J.C. and Spurgeon, C.J., 1965, 'The mottes in the Vale of Montgomery' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 114 p. 82-3
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  • Chitty, Lily, 1949, 'Subsidiary Castle Sites West of Shrewsbury' Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society Vol. 53 p. 83-90
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 211 online copy
  • Eyton, R.W., 1887, 'The castles of Shropshire' Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 10 p. 30-1


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk West Midlands Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 23 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk West Midlands Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 22 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 22 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 19 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 32 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 31 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 31 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 41 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2000, Scheduling Papers (Revision, 07/06/2000)
  • Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, 1985, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 17061