Wotherton Castle Mound

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameWotherton Castle Mound
Alternative Names
Historic CountryShropshire
Modern AuthorityShropshire
1974 AuthorityShropshire
Civil ParishChirbury With Brompton

The motte castle at Wotherton survives well and is a good example of its class. It will retain archaeological information relating to the materials and techniques used in its construction and to the period and nature of its occupation. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was constructed will survive on the old land surface sealed 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. Wotherton motte is one of a series of such castles positioned along the main valley pass between Shrewsbury and Montgomery. Considered together they contribute valuable information concerning the management of this important routeway.

The monument includes the remains of a small motte castle situated towards the foot of a north west facing slope in the bend of a small stream to the north of the village of Wotherton. It includes an earthen mound or motte, circular in plan with a base diameter of 21m rising to a flat summit 10m in diameter and standing 1.2m above the surrounding ground surface. A ditch up to 4m wide and 0.4m deep is visible around all sides but the north west, where the stream valley drops steeply away from the motte. (EH scheduling report 1995)

The motte at Wotherton measures 27ft N/S by 30ft E/W and possibly was not more than 4ft high. It stands in a low and overlooked position in the bend of a small stream, the coombe of which makes a formidable obstacle on that side. The farm standing close to the motte obscures any bailey there may have been, apart from a shallow and ill-marked ditch on the SE side with a scarp of four feet and a counterscarp of two feet. It is claimed blocks of stone were struck when erecting a pole about 1965 (Spurgeon and King)

A circular mound, 20m in diameter and averaging 1m high, with a ditch up to 0.4m deep on all but the NW side

There is no evidence of a bailey. OS FI 1971 (1977. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ20SE5). (Shropshire HER)

A small, grass-covered, earthen motte; 20.0m in diameter, and averaging 1.0m in height. A shallow ditch on all but the north-west side, directly above the stream, is some 4.0m in width, and up to 0.4m in depth. It is being filled in with farm rubbish on the south-west. There are no certain traces of a counterscarp bank, and no signs of a bailey (F2 ASP 11-JAN-80). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

The modest Domesday manor of Udevertune_ was held by Alward, the original Saxon family, in 1086, under the overlordship of Earl Roger of Shrewsbury. A priest and 4 riders are recorded in the manor. Eyton writes "I cannot say why a Priest should be resident at Wortherton. The district was parochially subject to Chirbury, and I know not of any Record or Tradition speaking of a Chapel there." However this certainly suggests this was a caput for Alward who may have held up to 20 manors in Shropshire in 1086. By the early C13 the manor was held by a family taking thier name from the place, who may well have been descendant of Alward and they held the manor for service of a part of a knights fee (a third is record in 1240 but in 1255 it is a half a knight fee - specifically 30 days service at Montgomery Castle in wartime, doing suit throughout the year to Chirbury Hundred and going to hunt three times a year with the Lords of Montgomery.) This small mound probably supported a timber tower mainly symbolic of the status of the tenant with the family living in a lightly defended house and farm complex now lost under the later farm. The tower would have allowed supervision of the estate but note that in wartime the military tenant would have been at Montgomery 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 ReferenceSJ283006
Latitude52.5990791320801
Longitude-3.0591299533844
Eastings328360
Northings300670
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print

Books

  • Duckers, Peter and Anne, 2006, Castles of Shropshire (Stroud: Tempus) p. 189
  • Salter, Mike, 2001 (2edn), The Castles and Moated Mansions of Shropshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 88 (slight)
  • Jackson, M.J.,1988, Castles of Shropshire (Shrewsbury: Shropshire Libraries) p. 68
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 422 (Chirbury No. 3)
  • Wall (after Downham), 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Shropshire Vol. 1 p. 384-5 (plan)
  • Eyton, R.W., 1860, Antiquities of Shropshire (London: John Russell Smith) Vol. 11 p. 74- (tenurial history) online copy

Journals

  • King, D.J.C. and Spurgeon, C.J., 1965, 'The mottes in the Vale of Montgomery' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 114 p. 74-6 (plan)
  • 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

Other

  • English Heritage, 1995, Scheduling Papers (Revision, 26/07/1995)
  • Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, 1985, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 18105