Bretchel; The Beacon

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameBretchel; The Beacon
Alternative Names
Historic CountryShropshire
Modern AuthorityShropshire
1974 AuthorityShropshire
Civil ParishAlberbury With Cardeston

The motte castle south west of Bretchel survives well and is a good example of its class. It will retain archaeological information relating to its construction and occupation. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was constructed will survive sealed on the old land surface beneath the motte and in the ditch fill. Such motte castles, when considered either as single monuments or as a part of a broader landscape, contribute valuable information concerning the settlement pattern, economy and social structure of the countryside during the medieval period.

The monument includes the remains of a small motte castle situated on the summit of a small hill overlooking, to the south, the main east to west valley routeway between Shrewsbury and Welshpool. It includes a small, steep sided castle mound, or motte, of earth and rubble construction, roughly circular in plan with a base diameter of 15m. The motte summit stands 3m above the surrounding natural land surface and has a diameter of approximately 8m. A ditch, from which material for the construction of the mound was quarried, remains visible as a slight surface depression 3m wide and 0.1m deep surrounding the motte. (Scheduling Report)

The Beacon at Bretchel is a very small motte with traces of a ditch, but none of a bailey. It is about 25ft across its damaged top by 8-10ft high (Spurgeon and King)

As described by Spurgeon and King, although all traces of a ditch have now gone. OS FI 1971 (Ordnance Survey Record Card 1977)

Small rectangular bailey visible as cropmark attached to SE side of motte. Possible entrance on its E side. The motte ditch also shows as a cropmark (Field Monument Warden Report 1986). (Shropshire HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Small motte and possible lost bailey. Damaged by ploughing but can never have been a substantial earthwork. In the C13 Bretchel (Breddeshill) was held by a sub-tenant of the Corbets and it seems probably the site represents a farmstead held by military service (? half a knights fee due at Caus) and the motte was symbolic of this service.

- 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 ReferenceSJ336118
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Duckers, Peter and Anne, 2006, Castles of Shropshire (Stroud: Tempus) p. 30-31
  • 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. 5
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 433 (Wollaston No. 3)
  • Eyton, R.W., 1860, Antiquities of Shropshire (London: John Russell Smith) Vol. 7 p. 126 online copy


  • King, D.J.C. and Spurgeon, C.J., 1965, 'The mottes in the Vale of Montgomery' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 114 p. 81-2
  • 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
  • Chitty, Lily, 1949, 'Subsidiary Castle Sites West of Shrewsbury' Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society Vol. 53 p. 83-90
  • 1892, Shropshire Notes and Queries Vol. 1 p. 34


  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 31 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 31 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 West Midlands (London: English Heritage) p. 41 online copy
  • English Heritage, 1995, Scheduling Papers (Affirmation, 15/11/1995)
  • Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, 1986, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 21042