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HER Number: 3190
Record Type: Monument
Name: Ascott Earl Motte and Bailey Castle


  • Scheduled Monument () 1016562: Ascott Earl motte and bailey castle
Grid Reference: SP 296 184

Monument Type(s):


Site lies in SW corner of the village and consists of grassy mound c.4m high with rough pasture in the bailey area. Dividing fence runs across site; therefore part of mound has been built on and is not scheduled. Also found was single sherd of Iron Age pottery.

Associated Monuments

  • None
  • Associated Finds:

  • FOX5941 - SHERD (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • Description

    1) The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of Ascott Earl motte and bailey castle and earlier Iron Age settlement evidence beneath the castle earthworks. The castle is situated immediately south east of the River Evenlode with its bailey extending to the north west to enclose the land between the river and the motte at the edge of the flood plain on a slight natural spur. A second motte and bailey castle lies less than 1km to the east and is the subject of a separate scheduling. The two castles are linked by the linear development of Ascott-under-Wychwood and Ascott Earl along the Shipton Road.
    The motte has a base diameter of approximately 56m and stands 3.5m high above the present bailey interior. It has a flat summit which measures 45m from north east to south west and 30m transversely. The top of the mound is believed, from excavated evidence, to have had a rampart around its edge, and a short section of this survives as a visible earthwork 4m wide and 0.6m high on the north side of the motte. This feature now forms part of a modern property boundary.
    The bailey is crescent shaped with its interior measuring approximately 70m north to south by 30m from east to west. It is bounded by a rampart bank which varies in width from 3m to 4.5m wide at its base and stands up to 1.7m high in places. Beyond this, enclosing the bailey and all but the east side of the motte, is a largely infilled outer ditch which measures between 12m and 20m wide
    (2 & 9) 1972, drainage ditch cut across north side of bailey, revealed rampart of clay. Threats by the farmer to bulldoze and level the earthworks resulted in an emergency scheduling of the site. M Aston for OCCM surveyed earthworks of this site.
    3) Discovered during field survey 1946-7. Small excavation December 1956 showed bailey bank to be formed of piled Lias clay. Occupation debris 3-4' below top of N edge of motte - charcoal, burnt daub, animal bones, pottery. Kidney-shaped bailey and motte to E rising some 10' above ditch.
    4) For historical background, see PRN 1532.
    5) Although motte is largely built over, the bailey earthworks are very well preserved.
    6) IA pottery found during M Jope's excavation December 1956. Compared by Jope to pottery found during excavations at Lyneham Camp by OUAS.
    7) Plan has been transferred to Oxon History Centre; SVL, 10/09/13.
    8) Much of the mound is occupied by houses, farm buildings and gardens, but there is a short stretch of an earthen bank or rampart on the N side of the summit, 4m in width and 0.6m in height. The bailey on the SW is crescent-shaped and measures a scarp, 1.7m high and is separated from the motte by a ditch, 10m wide and 0.8m in depth, which is crossed by a causeway to the motte, 4m wide. The northern end of the bailey is now being obscured by dumping farm rubbish.

    All the DRF material has been scanned and will be linked to this record; the original material has been checked and discarded by SVL, 01/12/14.

    10) Earthworks visible on Lidar imagery- not fully covered by the scheduled area.
    11) Presumed to have been abandoned by the C13th.

    <1> English Heritage, Scheduled Ancient Monuments Record, SM 21806 (Scheduling record). SOX283.

    <2> Field Notes/Field Visit, M Aston, 1972 (Unpublished document). SOX261.

    <3> Antiquaries Journal, Vol XXXIX, Nos 3-4 (Jul-Oct 1959) p.239. Jope & Threlfall (Serial). SOX358.

    <4> Archaeological Field Work, S Lisk (undated) (Unpublished document). SOX1047.

    <5> Medieval Archaeology, Vol 17 (1973) p.163 (Serial). SOX318.

    <6> Antiquaries Journal, Vol XXXIX, No 3-4 (Jul-Oct 1959) p.239 (Serial). SOX358.

    <7> HER Map Cabinet, Plan of motte and bailey (Graphic material). SOX326.

    <8> OS Record Card (Index). SOX273.

    <9> CBA South Midlands Group, South Midlands Archaeology, CBA9 NL 2 (1972) p.30 (Serial). SOX5.

    <10> Environment Agency, 2009-14, Environment Agency LIDAR Image (Graphic material). SOX3042.


    <1>English Heritage. Scheduled Ancient Monuments Record. SM 21806. [Scheduling record / SOX283]
    <2>Field Notes/Field Visit. M Aston, 1972. [Unpublished document / SOX261]
    <3>Antiquaries Journal. Vol XXXIX, Nos 3-4 (Jul-Oct 1959) p.239. Jope & Threlfall. [Serial / SOX358]
    <4>Archaeological Field Work. S Lisk (undated). [Unpublished document / SOX1047]
    <5>Medieval Archaeology. Vol 17 (1973) p.163. [Serial / SOX318]
    <6>Antiquaries Journal. Vol XXXIX, No 3-4 (Jul-Oct 1959) p.239. [Serial / SOX358]
    <7>HER Map Cabinet. Plan of motte and bailey. [Graphic material / SOX326]
    <8>OS Record Card. [Index / SOX273]
    <9>CBA South Midlands Group. South Midlands Archaeology. CBA9 NL 2 (1972) p.30. [Serial / SOX5]
    <10>XY>Environment Agency. 2009-14. Environment Agency LIDAR Image. [Mapped feature: #50397 earthworks visible on Lidar, ] [Graphic material / SOX3042]