Mortimers Castle, Much Marcle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NameMortimers Castle, Much Marcle
Alternative Names
Historic CountryHerefordshire
Modern AuthorityHerefordshire
1974 AuthorityHereford and Worcester
Civil ParishMuch Marcle

Earthwork remains of a Motte and bailey castle, first mentioned in 1153. The motte is 170ft in diameter at the base and is 21.5ft above the bottom of the surrounding ditch. The inner bailey lies to the east and has been considerably altered by the formation of gardens. It has an outer ditch of semi-circular form. (PastScape)

Motte & bailey & earthworks. 50 yards N of church. Motte is round, c170' diam as above, with max height 21.5' above bottom of encircling ditch. Inner bailey lies to E & has been considerably altered to form gardens. Outer ditch of semi circular form. Beyond this ditch on N & E is outer enclosure bounded by rampart or scarp with ditch in addition on N. To the NE of this enclosure is a further rect enclosure perhaps of later date & bounded by a scarp. Trad tower of church, built C15, from ruins of castle Much Marcle (part of) granted to de mortimer by Ed I. In C17 Castle & moat could be clear traced (Har 1.MS.6726) 1 of 2 baronial residences, Granted to Edmund Mortimer by ED I. In C17 site of castle & moat could clearly be traced (Harl MS 6726) but are now almost effaced. (Robinson) Mortimers had castellated mansion 50yds N of church. whose artificial eminence surrounded by moat is yet visible. Circ elevation 22' above level of ground, 180yds circum. (Cooke) Motte & bailey, Shell keep. A definite early stone castle of some strength. Buried foundations present. Some modern disturbance. Several outer enclosures.First mentioned 1153. (Stirling-Brown, 1988) DMV in field N of Castle motte. Sunken way and vague earthworks E of outer bailey. (Hickling, 1970) A watching brief was carried out in 2004 during groundworks for a water pipe but no finds or features of archaeological significance were recorded

(Crooks, 2005) An evaluation in the grounds of Swan Cottage in April 2006 recorded a series of deposits and features of largely Post-medieval date which were probably associated with landscaping of the site during the 18th and 19th centuries. (Priestley, 2007) The subsequent watching brief recorded potentially significant remains, including a probable section of the castle moat, and two structures of apparent Medieval date. The structural remains were located immediately north and east of Swan Cottage. They comprised a rectangular structure with rubble masonry walls and a second structure which, although poorly preserved and only partially visible, seemed similar in size and layout to the rectangular structure. There was very little pottery recovered either from the evaluation or the watching brief. (Wellicome)

Gatehouse Comments

Castle had masonry. Probably destroyed in C15 when masonry reputedly used to build church tower. DMV to north of castle.

- 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 ReferenceSO657328
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  • Shoesmith, Ron, 2009 (Rev edn.), Castles and Moated Sites of Herefordshire (Logaston Press) p. 227-8
  • Salter, Mike, 2000, Castles of Herefordshire and Worcestershire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 52
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 103 (slight)
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  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 113 online copy
  • Cooke, William Henry, 1882, Collections towards the history and antiquities of the county of Herefordshire in continuation of Duncumb's History; Vol 3 Greytree Hundred (London) p. 1-
  • Robinson, C.J., 1869, The Castles of Herefordshire and Their Lords (London: Longman) p. 109-10 online copy


  • Sterling Brown, R., 1988, 'Preliminary Results of Castle Survey' Herefordshire Archaeological News Vol. 50 p. 41
  • Clarke, R. and Piper, G.H., 1899, 'Mortimer's Castle' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 100-1


  • Wellicome, Thomas, 01/2007, Swan Cottage, Much Marcle, Herefordshire. Archaeological Observation. Border Archaeology. BA0612JMCMM2.
  • Priestley, Stephen, 01/2007, Swan Cottage within the grounds of Mortimer's Castle, Much Marcle, Herefordshire: Archaeological Evaluation.. Border Archaeology. BA0612JMCMM1.
  • Crooks, K., 2005, Swan Cottage, Much Marcle, Herefordshire: Archaeological Watching Brief Hereford Archaeology Series 658. Archaeological Investigations Ltd: Hereford online copy