Audley Castle Hill

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

There are earthwork remains

NameAudley Castle Hill
Alternative Names
Historic CountryStaffordshire
Modern AuthorityStaffordshire
1974 AuthorityStaffordshire
Civil ParishAudley Rural

Castle Hill, Audley. Plateau site circa 30 ft in summit diameter, surrounded by a broad ditch on the eastern half of its circumference and steep slopes round the remainder of the perimeter. Excavation in 1914 revealed a wall and a channel of thin slabs, loose masonry, an oak post, fragments of 15th, 17th and 18th century pottery, and a coin of Edward I or II and one of George III. These finds and possibly some documentary evidence suggest that Castle Hill may be an early Norman motte, possibly the predecessor of Heleigh Castle (Scrivener). Castle Hill, a low flat-topped motte, 55.0m in diameter at the base, 40.0m across the summit, from 4.0m in height on the west decreasing to 2.0m on the east. The ditch, reduced and spread by ploughing, encircling the motte on the north and east, is from 5.0m to 10.0m in width and averages 0.5m in depth. The site is now a public open space. No building remains are visible. (OS Field Investigator ASP 09-DEC-74). (PastScape)

Castle Hill motte is situated on a natural plateau on the eastern outskirts of the village of Ashley. The plateau was adapted during the 12th century and the ground surface built up slightly in order to construct a motte castle on its summit. The monument includes the mound of Castle Hill motte and the ditch at its eastern and northern edges. The sloping sides of the plateau form the defences of the motte on its western and southern edges and the eastern and northern defences have been strengthened by the construction of a ditch. The ditch has been mostly infilled and measures up to 10m wide with an average depth of 0.5m. The line of the ditch has been partly obscured and damaged by ploughing at the northern edge of the monument. The flat-topped mound has a diameter of approximately 12m across its summit. It measures approximately 2.5m high on its northern side and up to 9m high on its southern side

An excavation across the top of the motte in 1911 exposed a 5m length of masonry walling and a narrow stone-lined channel. These features were built on a north-south alignment. The stone foundations of an angle of walling were located at the eastern edge of the motte which projected slightly beyond the edge of the mound. A timber post, fragments of 15th, 17th and 18th century pottery and a late 13th century silver coin were found during the excavation. Castle Hill motte is considered to have been the original seat of the Audley family prior to their move to Heighley Castle in the first quarter of the 13th century. A partition of lands belonging to the Audley family in 1274-5 refers to the castle in Audley. Documentary references to Castle Hill motte in 1272-3 and 1275 suggest that the site was not immediately abandoned after the construction of Heighley. (Scheduling Report)

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 ReferenceSJ799510
Latitude53.056209564209
Longitude-2.30084991455078
Eastings379930
Northings351030
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 1997, Castles and Moated Mansions of Staffordshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 14
  • Salter, Mike, 1993, Midlands Castles (Birmingham) p. 28
  • Lynam, Charles, 1908, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm. (ed), VCH Staffordshire Vol. 1 p. 351-2 (plan) online copy

Journals

  • Palliser, D.M., 1972, 'Staffordshire Castles: A Provisional List' Staffordshire Archaeology Vol. 1 p. 5-8
  • Scrivener, A., 1915, North Staffordshire Field Club transactions Vol. 49 p. 92-6
  • 1913-14, North Staffordshire Field Club transactions Vol. 48 p. 233