West Felton Motte

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameWest Felton Motte
Alternative Names
Historic CountryShropshire
Modern AuthorityShropshire
1974 AuthorityShropshire
Civil ParishWest Felton

The motte castle adjacent to St Michael's Church is a well-preserved example of this class of monument, which has been subsequently adapted both to prolong its military role and as a possible prospect mound. The archaeological investigation has provided significant information about the monument's construction. The motte will retain buried evidence relating to the nature of occupation and the types of structures built upon its summit. Organic remains preserved within both mounds, in the buried ground surfaces beneath them, and within the ditches, will provide valuable evidence about the local environment and the use of the land before and after the motte castle was constructed. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by its association with the neighbouring 12th century church.

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle situated next to the 12th century church of St Michael. The castle was probably built in the late 11th century when the manor of West Felton formed part of the land held by Roger de Montgomery. The castle mound was constructed on a gradual west facing slope and is surrounded by gently undulating land with extensive views of the Oswestry uplands and the Welsh hills to the west. It is roughly circular, about 46m in diameter at its base and 34m across the top, and stands 3.2m high. It is surrounded by a ditch, between 12m and 16m wide, the eastern half of which is filled with water. Archaeological recording in advance of earthwork repairs to the monument in 1995 demonstrated that the mound was built of earth, but incorporated layers of turf.

At a later date a smaller circular mound was built on top of the main mound at its centre. This later feature is about 18m in diameter, has a flat top approximately 10m across and stands 1.8m high. The investigation of the site in 1995 revealed that it was constructed in a similar manner to the main mound

It is surrounded by a ditch, now largely infilled, but which is still clearly visible as an earthwork on its western side where it is approximately 6m wide and 0.3m deep. The position of the smaller mound and the nature of its construction suggests that it was probably built as the base for a watchtower, which was given additional protection by utilising the existing fortification.

The motte, and in particular the smaller mound, may have served as a prospect mound on which a summerhouse might have been built for the neighbouring manor house, now Manor Farm. A footbridge across the ditch, with a flight of steps up the main mound, provided a direct link between the castle site and the house.

A stone wall of 18th or 19th century date built to revet the eastern half of the motte and the stone steps are included in the scheduling. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The small Domesday manor of Feltone was held by an unnamed miles (Knight; man at arms) in 1086. This is a somewhat large mound than is often found marking the site of the houses of such knights in this area and it may be this mound was large enough to have a residential building on it. It is suggested that the adjacent village was also defended, as a burgus of this castle, making this a marked statement of a lordship holding, given that the lord in 1086 was unnamed.

- 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 ReferenceSJ340252
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  • Duckers, Peter and Anne, 2006, Castles of Shropshire (Stroud: Tempus) p. 174-5
  • Salter, Mike, 2001 (2edn), The Castles and Moated Mansions of Shropshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 88 (slight)
  • Jackson, M.J.,1988, Castles of Shropshire (Shrewsbury: Shropshire Libraries) p. 25
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 431-2
  • Wall (after Downham), 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Shropshire Vol. 1 p. 388-9
  • Eyton, R.W., 1860, Antiquities of Shropshire (London: John Russell Smith) Vol. 11 p. 1- (tenurial history) online copy


  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1963, 'Early castles in Wales and the Marches: a preliminary list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 112 p. 77-124
  • 1957-60, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 56 p. 60-3


  • Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, 1983, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 13707