Dodleston Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NameDodleston Castle
Alternative NamesDodleston; Doddlestone; Dodestune
Historic CountryCheshire
Modern AuthorityCheshire
1974 AuthorityCheshire
Civil ParishDodleston

Small Motte & bailey castle immediately west of the churchyard. Motte stands in east half of bailey. Flat top is c.13m across. Motte is c.3.3m high surrounded by a ditch c.2.3m deep. No trace of building foundations. Bailey consists of a bank and ditch. Best preserved in east where ditch has an average width of c.6-7m and bank is 3m high. Also outer bank 1.5m high. No trace of entrance across bailey or to Motte. Ditch of motte & bailey obliterated in north by building of a rectory and its garden. Site mutilated by a fence running west-east across the site, garden activity mutilating north-east slopes of motte and fencing and make-up of gardens for three new houses along south and west bailey ditch. In 1086 the manor of Dodleston was held by Osberne Fitz Tezzon. It was the site of the seat of the Boydells and later passed to the Redishes. Within the site was erected a later mansion which was the property of the Manleys of Lache. This was probably the HQ of Sir William Brereton during the siege of Chester and is now taken down. Site includes flat-topped Motte, slightly damaged on N side, c.13m diameter at summit and 3.3m high. It is surrounded by a ditch on all sides except N, ditch is c.2.3m deep x 7m wide and is mainly dry. Bailey is bounded by a bank & outer ditch, bank c.7m wide by 1.5m high. Ditch remains waterlogged in South and is 6-7m wide & 3m deep. It is partially infilled on East side. A dry outlet channel 2.5m wide and 33m long issues from the SE corner of the outer ditch. (Cheshire HER)

The motte and bailey castle at Dodleston is one of a group of early post-Conquest (c.1100) motte and bailey castles forming a defensive system, the aim of which was to curb Welsh raids on the rich farming areas of Cheshire. Its earthworks are well preserved and the monument will retain considerable detail of its original form and the buildings which lay within it

Organic material will also be preserved within the waterlogged areas of the ditches.

The monument is Dodleston motte and bailey castle. It is situated on the Welsh side of the River Dee from where control could be kept of the marsh lands between the river and the Welsh foothills. The motte is located in the eastern half of the bailey with the north-eastern corner of the bailey having been destroyed by the construction of a rectory and its gardens. The site includes a flat-topped motte, slightly mutilated on its northern side, but measuring c.13m diameter at the summit and 3.3m high. It is surrounded on all sides except the north by a ditch, c.2.3m deep by 7m wide at the base, that is dry apart from a small waterlogged area at the south-east. The bailey is bounded by a bank and outer ditch, best preserved on the south-east where the bank measures c.7m wide by 1.5m high. The outer ditch remains waterlogged in its southern part and has an average width of c.6-7m and is 3m deep. It has been partly infilled on its eastern side. A dry outlet channel some 2.5m wide by 33m long issues from the south-eastern corner of the outer ditch. In 1086 Dodleston manor was held by Osberne Fitz Tezzon, a Norman baron who founded the Boydall family. It subsequently passed to the Redishes. A later mansion, the property of the Manleys of Lache, was erected within the site. This was the headquarters of Sir William Brereton during the siege of Chester (1644-6) and has since been demolished. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Rachel Swallow suggests this may be the site of the original Saxon moot (meeting point) for the Hundred of Duddeston although by 1086 it was recorded as in Ati's Cross Hundred. However the border with Wales moved at several points in the C9-C11.

- 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 ReferenceSJ361608
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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  • Grimsditch, Brian, Nevell, Michael and Nevell, Richard, 2012, Buckton Castle and the Castles of the North West England (University of Salford Archaeological Monograph 2) p. 106
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, Index and Amendments to Mike Salter's English Castles Books (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 10
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Lancashire and Cheshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 17
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 17 (slight)
  • Cullen, P.W. and Hordern, R., 1986, Castles of Cheshire (Crossbow Books) p. 10
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 67
  • Ridgway, Maurice Hill, 1958, 'Medieval Castles' in Sylvester, D. and Nulty, G. (eds), The Historical Atlas of Cheshire (Cheshire Community Council) p. 24-5
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 170-1 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 170 online copy
  • Ormerod, G., 1882 (2edn), History of the County Palatine and city of Chester (London) Vol. 2 p. 847
  • Hanshall, J.H., 1817-23, The History of the County Palatine of Chester p. 305-6
  • Ormerod, G., 1819, History of the County Palatine and city of Chester (London) Vol. 2 p. 456-8 (tenurial history) online copy


  • < >Swallow, Rachel, 2014-15, 'Palimpsest of Border Power: the Archaeological Survey of Dodleston Castle, Cheshire' Cheshire History Vol. 54 p. 24-51 < >
  • King, D.J.C., 1973, 'Dodleston Castle' The 120th annual meeting in Wrexham and district, 1973, CAA p. 15
  • 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
  • Harrison, W., 1907, Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 25 p. 151
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 201 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 138