Castlemorton Motte

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte)

There are earthwork remains

NameCastlemorton Motte
Alternative NamesCastle Morton; Castle Tump; Morton Folliott; Morton Folet
Historic CountryWorcestershire
Modern AuthorityWorcestershire
1974 AuthorityHereford and Worcester
Civil ParishCastlemorton

A Medieval motte and bailey and possibly associated features are visible as earthworks and have been mapped from aerial photographs. Medieval settlement remains are situated adjacent to the motte and are described separately in SO 73 NE 16. It is possible they are specifically associated with the motte and bailey but it is likely that they form part of possible Medieval and/or Post Medieval settlement at Castlemorton after the motte and bailey had gone out of use. A string of Medieval and/or Post Medieval fishponds are situated immediately east of the motte and bailey. There is a record of the existence of a castle in the early thirteenth century but as there is no surface evidence of a castle or building it is possible the record actually refers to the motte rather than an actual building. Medieval pottery has been found at the site. (PastScape)

Castlemorton was known more frequently till the 14th century as Morton Folliott or Folet, taking its name from its early owner. The castle was probably thrown up in the 12th century, possibly during the 'anarchy' of Stephen's reign by a member of the Folliott family. Its position is marked by 'Castle Tump' and its surrounding ditches in the village to the south of the church. Its defences were probably of timber, as was frequent in this type of castle; and being raised possibly for a temporary purpose, it apparently has no history. The castle was bought by Richard de Berkyng, Abbot of Westminster (1222–46), from some of the members of the Folliott family. It was probably this Abbot Richard who appointed a chaplain to celebrate divine service daily in the chapel of his castle here. Early in the reign of Edward I the abbot 'appropriated a carucate of land to his castle of Morton. No other references to the castle have been found (VCH).

No trace of a contemporary bailey exists but a later subrectangular moated enclosure surrounds the site cutting the motte defences on the E side

A sewage plant now occupies the SW corner of the site.....description of 'moat'.

No deposits of medieval or earlier date were present. No buried soils were present in the area observed. This is due to the terracing of the natural slope of the land for the insertion of the now demolished silt tank. However, there is the potential for archaeological deposits to survive beyond the areas of truncation (Topping).

Castlemorton Tump is the site of a small medieval castle, long abandoned. The main feature is a steep-sided mound (or 'motte'), below which a broad ditch encloses a level area. These are the typical features of a 'motte and bailey' castle, built of earth and timber. The lords of the manor, the Folliotts, built this castle in the 12th century. Although it did not have stone walls and towers, it is certain that it stood out in the medieval landscape as the residence of a lord. The parish and settlement were known as Morton Folliott in the 13th century, but then the castle and lands were sold to the Abbot of Westminster and the castle site lost its importance. There have not been any archaeological excavations of the castle earthworks and there are few documentary records. The reconstruction drawing is based on the limited evidence from this site, and on similar castles where more evidence survives. The motte was the defensive strongpoint, supporting a palisade and a timber tower and the bailey was enclosed with a moat and palisade, with a gatehouse at the bridge. However, none of these features could have formed effective defences against a determined military attack, and instead reveal the social ambitions of the Folliotts. The castle was a lord's residence and an administrative centre, so it is certain there was a substantial timber-framed hall, a kitchen, stables, barns and other storage buildings. The lord and his retainers attended services in the castle chapel, probably on the site of St Gregory's Church. The local landscape was varied, with arable and pasture fields, and open rough grazing, but with considerably more woodland than at present. The land was farmed by peasants, some of whom lived in houses clustered close to the church marked by earthworks in the field to the east of the castle site. Other peasant families lived in scattered homesteads throughout the parish. Much of the medieval landscape can be traced in the modern landscape, including the many footpaths and minor roads which connected Castlemorton castle and church to scattered houses and fields. (Worcestershire and Worcester City HER)

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 ReferenceSO794370
Latitude52.0317802429199
Longitude-2.30082988739014
Eastings379430
Northings237020
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Copyright Bob Embleton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2000, Castles of Herefordshire and Worcestershire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 76
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 280 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 506
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Page, Wm and Willis-Bund, J.W. (eds), 1924, VCH Worcestershire Vol. 4 p. 49-50 online transcription
  • Montgomerie, 1924, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm and Willis-Bund, J.W. (eds), VCH Worcestershire Vol. 4 p. 426

Journals

  • Wilson, A., 1974-5, 'Castle Morton. Motte and bailey' Worcestershire archaeology and local history newsletter Vol. 15 p. 7
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • 1952-3, Transaction of the Worcestershire Naturalists Club Vol. 10 p. 290
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 214 online copy

Other

  • Goad James and Pearson Elizabeth, 2003, Archaeological Watching Brief at Castle Tump, Castlemorton. Archaeological Service - Worcestershire County Council
  • Topping, J., 1996, Watching Brief at The Sewage works, Castle Tump, Castlemorton. Archaeological Service - Worcestershire County Council. Archaeology Section