Bucknell Motte

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameBucknell Motte
Alternative NamesThe Old Farm
Historic CountryShropshire
Modern AuthorityShropshire
1974 AuthorityShropshire
Civil ParishBucknell

The motte castle at Old Farm, Bucknell survives well and is a good example of its class. It will retain archaeological information relating both to its construction and to the occupation of the site. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed will be preserved sealed on the old land surface beneath the motte and in the ditch fill. Such motte castles provide valuable information concerning the settlement pattern and social organisation of the countryside during the medieval period and in this respect the proximity of the parish church which lies to the south west of the motte is of interest.

The monument includes the remains of a small motte castle situated on the north bank of the River Redlake, in close proximity to Bucknell parish church and a river crossing point. It includes an earthen mound, or motte, oval in plan measuring 22m east to west by 20m north to south and standing up to 4.3m high. The summit of the motte is eroded and slumped giving a rounded profile and measures 8m east to west by 6m north to south. The southern side of the mound has been cut into to allow the construction of a farm building, now removed. A stone lined ice house 1.3m high and 6m deep has been built into the NNW side of the mound. The ice house, which is a Listed Building Grade II, is included in the scheduling. A fragment of the surrounding ditch is visible as an earthwork for a short length on the north east side of the mound, here it is 3m wide and 0.3m deep. The ditch will continue around the remaining sides of the motte as a buried feature of similar width, except in the north west quarter where the foundation cut of the adjacent farm house will have destroyed the ditch. (Scheduling Report)

Ice house. Probably early C19. Roughly coursed limestone rubble. Segmental- headed entrance to tunnel, blocked at far end

Covered by an earth mound, probably originally circular in plan, now truncated on south side with rubble revetment wall. The mound, scheduled as a castle motte, was probably constructed simply to cover the ice house. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The Icehouse listing report of 1987 writes the mound 'was probably constructed simply to cover the ice house.' but otherwise all the castle studies experts and field archaeologist appear to have accepted this as a motte. The location, in a village near a church beside a later manor house, is entirely typical for a motte but also entirely consistent for a de novo icehouse. The tenurial history is slightly complex with apparently two manors in Bucknell both held by sub-tenants for military service. One part owed some castle guard at Clun Castle the other may have had some association with Holdgate Castle.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSO355739
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  • Duckers, Peter and Anne, 2006, Castles of Shropshire (Stroud: Tempus) p. 44-5
  • Salter, Mike, 2001 (2edn), The Castles and Moated Mansions of Shropshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 87 (slight)
  • Jackson, M.J.,1988, Castles of Shropshire (Shrewsbury: Shropshire Libraries) p. 9-10
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 421
  • Wall (after Downham), 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Shropshire Vol. 1 p. 385
  • Eyton, R.W., 1860, Antiquities of Shropshire (London: John Russell Smith) Vol. 11 p. 316-20 (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


  • English Heritage, 1995, Scheduling Papers (Revision, 26/07/1995)
  • Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, 1987, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 32139 (24/02/1987)