Tanworth

Has been described as a Questionable Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameTanworth
Alternative NamesThe Mount, Cheswick Green; Shirley
Historic CountryWarwickshire
Modern AuthoritySolihull
1974 AuthorityWest Midlands
Civil ParishSolihull

Medieval moat possibly 14th or 15th century in date. Observations in the 19th centry found the moat comprising an oblong area encircled by a deep moat, with an internal rampart on the east. The moat was 18-20 feet wide, and the rampart up to 60 feet wide and 20 feet high. Excavations in 1953 by the Ministry of Works recovered 12th and 13th century pottery indicated occupation of the site prior to construction of the moat. The moat was constructed no earlier than about 1300 and contained no internal structures. This absence has led to the interpretation that Mount was a military earthwork. Furthermore, the absence of any palisading, or a permanent bridge and gates, suggests that it was either erected hastily and abandoned, or was intended as a temporary stronghold. By 1627 no reference to, or tradition concerning it could be found. Further excavations in 1973, in advance of building development, located no evidence of any internal buildings contemporary with the construction of the fortification. It is impossible to date the Mount closely and its original purpose remains unknown. A surveyed in 1976 found the moat had been completely filled and half the earthwork destroyed. The remaining southern half of the east and most of the south sides were badly mutilated, surviving to a height of 3.8 metres. The site lies in an area of new housing. (PastScape)

The Mount - ".. an ancient earthwork surrounded by a moat... It is in a strong defensive position, on the top of a projecting triangle of high ground in a corner made by the valley of the Blyth; which stream, after running from north to south on its western side, turns off sharply to the east and protects it on the south. The remains consist of an oblong area encircled by a deep moat, on the inner side of which there is a strong eastern rampart; the moat is square at its eastern and rounded at its western end. The works with their enclosure cover about a couple of acres

The moat is from 18 to 20' wide across the surface of the water that now lies within it; the vallum is in places as much as 60' broad and 20' high. An unusual feature in connection with this stronghold is that parts of the interior area, instead of being higher, appear to be lower than the level of the water of the encircling moat. There are two entrances to the enclosure made by embankments across the moat and corresponding breaches in the rampart; one is at the south-east and the other at the south-west... In some ways it resembles the earthwork of uncertain age known as the 'Castle Hills at Fillongley. (a poss. early md. castle in its first stage which was never developed). (VCH)

The Mount - traces of an outer enclosure or court abutting on the moat at its eastern side. It has an area equal in extent to that of 'The Mount', and although it is without moat or embankments, its shape, which is square, is strongly marked. {Burgess unfortunately describes the 'Mount' as being square, and also shows it so in his plan. According to this plan the outer court is identical in shape and size, and stands absolutely square to the Mount}. (Burgess)

A large impressive moated work. The strength of the construction and the present condition of the earthworks suggest a medieval period - the absence of early written evidence would tend to disprove the "castle" suggestion of authority 2 (Castle Hills Fillongley is Norman). In many respects the work is comparable with Hobs Moat (SP 146826), such defensive works are fairly common to the area and a 14th/15th. c. date is suggested. There is no surface evidence of an outer court. (F1 FDC 08-MAY-68)

The site lies in an area of new housing. The moat has been completely filled and half the earthwork destroyed. The remaining south half of the east and most of the south sides have been badly mutilated but still survive to a height of 3.8m. (F2 DJC 28-JAN-76)

Excavated in 1953 by the MOW. 12th and 13th century pottery indicated occupation of the site before the construction of the earthwork although no structures were found. The earthwork was constructed over this occupation and cannot be earlier than about 1300. The interior of the site contained no structures that coud be associated with the earthwork. Their absence suggest that the Mount was purely military in purpose. The absence of any palisading, or a permanent bridge and gates, suggests that it was either erected hastily and abandoned, or was intended as a temporary stronghold. By 1627 no reference to, or tradition concerning it could be found. (Jones)

Excavated in 1973 in advance of building development. There was no evidence of any internal buildings contemporary with the construction of the fortification. It is impossible to date the Mount closely and its original purpose remains unknown. (Taylor) (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Appears to have been a scheduled monument in 1953 but destroyed by development in 1973 so, presumably, now descheduled. The Cheswick Green area was developed by working class Brummies and arguably could all have been scheduled or otherwise protected as an exceptional part of working class history. Instead it seems to have been deemed to be an eyesore and subject to nondescript commercial development.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSP130760
Latitude52.382511138916
Longitude-1.81042003631592
Eastings413000
Northings276070
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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Books

  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 486 (possible)
  • Aberg, F.A. (ed), 1978, Medieval moated sites (CBA Research Report 17) p. 39 online copy
  • Willoughby Gardner, 1904, 'Ancient Defensive Earthworks' in Doubleday, H.A. and Page, Wm (eds), VCH Warwickshire Vol. 1 p. 399-400 (plan) online copy

Antiquarian

  • Dugdale, Wm., 1656, The Antiquities of Warwickshire (Thomas Warren) p. 576-9 online copy

Journals

  • Taylor, S.J., 1973, CBA Group 8: West Midlands newsletter Vol. 16 p. 27
  • King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Ch√Ęteau Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
  • Jones, T.L., 1953, 'Excavations at the Mount, Cheswick Green, Shirley' Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham Archaeological Society transactions, excursions and reports Vol. 71 p. 80-95
  • Burgess, T., 1872, Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham Archaeological Society transactions, excursions and reports Vol. 3 p. 87 and plate