Mouse Castle, Cusop

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

There are earthwork remains

NameMouse Castle, Cusop
Alternative Names
Historic CountryHerefordshire
Modern AuthorityHerefordshire
1974 AuthorityHereford and Worcester
Civil ParishCusop

Earthwork and buried remains of a motte and bailey castle known as Mouse Castle, located on a natural headland with steeply sloping sides in all directions except to the north east where the land falls away more gently. The castle includes a motte standing 4m to 5m high and measuring 15m to 20m in diameter on the summit and approximately 50m in diameter around the base. This is surrounded by a ditch 4m to 5m wide and 1m to 3m deep which is best preserved on the northern side, with traces of a counterscarp bank on the north side. A further outer rampart measuring 10m to 12m wide and up to 3m high survives to the north and east. To the south east of the motte are the remains of the entrance to the complex including a large hollow way cutting through the outer ramparts. The monument is one of a number of medieval defensive sites located in strategic positions above the Wye Valley and is believed to have been constructed by Roger De Lacy, although its unusual form has led to suggestions that the castle may have been remodelled from a pre-existing Iron Age hill fort. The natural topography, however, suggests that the motte is formed from an outcrop enhanced by quarrying and the construction of the earthen ramparts. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Phillips makes the point that much of the earthworks appear Iron Age in date and that this may be an adaptation by the Normans of an earlier hill fort. He considers it a early Norman period castle, one superseded by Cusop Castle.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 ReferenceSO248424
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Jeremy Bolwell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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  • Shoesmith, Ron, 2009 (Rev edn.), Castles and Moated Sites of Herefordshire (Logaston Press) p. 98
  • Phillips, Neil, 2005, Earthwork Castles of Gwent and Ergyng AD 1050-1250 (University of Wales) p. 257-9 Download from ADS
  • Salter, Mike, 2000, Castles of Herefordshire and Worcestershire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 52
  • Stirling-Brown, R., 1989, Herefordshire Castles (privately published) p. 3
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 204
  • 1981, Herefordshire Countryside Treasures (Hereford and Worcester County Council) p. 40
  • RCHME, 1931, An inventory of the historical monuments in Herefordshire Vol. 1: south-west p. xxxv, 47 No. 3 (plan) online transcription
  • Gould, I. Chalkley, 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Herefordshire Vol. 1 p. 235 (plan)
  • Robinson, C.J., 1869, The Castles of Herefordshire and Their Lords (London: Longman) p. 40 online copy


  • 1998-99, 'Pre-Conquest Castles in Herefordshire' Castle Studies Group Newsletter No. 12 p. 33-4 online copy
  • Sterling Brown, R., 1988, 'Preliminary Results of Castle Survey' Herefordshire Archaeological News Vol. 50 p. 44
  • 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
  • Marshall, G., 1938, 'The Norman Occupation of the Lands in the Golden Valley. Ewyas, and Clifford, and their Motte and Bailey Castles' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 151
  • Lilwall, C.J., 1898-9, 'Cusop, its Church and Castles' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 139-40