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HER Number (PRN):00267
Name:Hodnet Motte and Bailey Castle
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Conservation Area: Hodnet
Scheduled Monument 1019653: Motte and bailey castle on Castle Hill, and the associated remains of a park pale, a fishpond and a formal garden

Monument Types


Scheduled Monument: A well-preserved and well-documented Norman motte and bailey (earthwork castle), which has been shown to be of high archaeological potential, and is of particular interest because of its close association with the planned medieval settlement of Hodnet because of its later remodelling as a post medieval formal garden.

Parish:Hodnet, North Shropshire, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SJ62NW
Grid Reference:SJ 6135 2837

Related records

08088Parent of: Fishpond E of Hodnet Castle (Monument)
07586Parent of: Hodnet Park (Monument)
08085Parent of: Post Medieval Formal Gardens in Hodnet Castle Bailey (Monument)
08089Parent of: Watermill near Hodnet Castle (Monument)
08019Part of: Pre-Conquest and Medieval Hodnet (Monument)
08019Related to: Pre-Conquest and Medieval Hodnet (Monument)
08087Related to: Former Site of Hodnet Hall (Monument)
08019Part of: Pre-Conquest and Medieval Hodnet (Monument)
08019Related to: Pre-Conquest and Medieval Hodnet (Monument)

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESA257 - 1892 Excavations of Hodnet Castle by Herber-Percy
  • ESA258 - Undated field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA259 - 1962 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA260 - 1970 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA261 - 1975 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA262 - 1978 field observation by Shropshire County Council
  • ESA263 - 1981 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA264 - 1983 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA265 - 1987 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA6925 - 2010 Management survey of the motte and bailey castle on Castle Hill by Shropshire Council, HET


Motte located within SE corner of rectangular inner bailey. Motte dimensions: 45m base diameter, height 3m above outside ground level. Summit 26m diameter, damaged. Ditch 8m wide and up to 3.5m deep. Inner bailey: ditch 2.6m deep on W side and 3.5m deep on E side, 12-26m wide . Destroyed on N side. Causewayed entrance across ditch from west. Outer bailey: ditch 12m wide and 1.5m deep. Millpond? Remains of bank runs from SE corner of inner bailey 80m southwards and then west for 25m to higher ground. (quarrying destroyed much of this.) Breach at N end for culverted stream feeding fishponds at Hodnet Hall (SA15012). Possible fishpond 20m x 8m x 1.3m deep in SE corner of outer bailey. OS FI 1975 <1>

Excavations on 1892 on top of motte. Rubble wall of tower 12ft 4ins thick. Animal bone and "yellow glazed earthenware" at bottom of inner moat. Building foundation, "Norman", projecting into moat above bone/pottery layer. Ashlar faced walling 2ft 3ins thick and 33ft E/W, 20ft N/S. Trench from E side of moat towards tower revealed more masonry <3b>

Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1: Medium score as one of 46 Motte and Bailey Castles; Medium score as one of 52 Fishponds <11>

Scheduling revised in 2001. Relevant parts of Scheduling description: ->

-> The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte and bailey castle, the standing structural remains of a tower keep, and the associated remains of a park pale, a fishpond and a formal garden. ->

-> The motte and bailey castle is situated to the south east of St Luke's Church, a 12th century building which was extensively altered in the 14th century. The present church is thought to occupy the site of an earlier chapel which lay within the Anglo-Saxon settlement and administrative centre of Odenet, a royal manor belonging to Edward the Confessor. The existence of this settlement is believed to have influenced the location of the castle, which was probably constructed in the late 11th century when the manor and hundred of Odenet were granted by William I to Rodger de Montgomery. The first known reference to the castle is in a document of 1223. In the mid-13th century Odo de Hodnet, the manorial lord, was given the right by Henry III to hold a weekly fair and an annual market at Hodnet. It is likely that this provided the stimulus for the planned extension of the village to the north and east of the castle. The castle is situated within Hodnet Park, a 20th century designed landscape, which is a Registered Park and Garden Grade II, incorporating earlier elements including a medieval deer park. The castle is situated on a gradual south facing slope in an area of gently undulating land. The steep-sided oval-shaped motte measures approximately 45m by 50m at its base and 25m by 30m across the top, and stands up to 7m high from the base of its encircling rock-cut ditch. Material excavated from the ditch has been used to create an external bank, about 12m wide to the south and east. To the north the bank is much wider and appears to have been modified in order to create a broad, raised level area within the inner bailey. ->

-> On top of the western half of the motte are the ruins of a circular masonry tower keep. Its embanked walls of red sandstone, about 1.5m wide and standing up to 0.7m high, define a circular area approximately 11m in diameter. This structure was partially excavated by Major Herber-Percy in 1892, who found the remains of an arched doorway which led into the building and a-floor paved with pebbles. Depressions resulting from this excavation are evident in the southern half of the building. In the debris overlying the tower keep burnt stone, cinders and deposits of lead were found, which suggests that this structure was destroyed by fire. On the lower part of the motte, to the east of the tower keep, the remains of another structure with ashlar faced walls were also found, It apparently post-dated an earlier masonry building. At the base of the ditch which surrounds the motte, sherds of pottery, including a yellow glazed earthenware vessel, and the bones of ox, horse, wolf or dog, and boar were discovered. ->

-> To the north and west of the motte are two baileys. The internal area of the inner L-shaped bailey, next to the motte, is about 0.5ha, which is approximately double the area of the adjoining outer triangular-shaped bailey to the west, They are separated by a steep-sided 10m wide ditch, flanked on the western side by a bank about 8m wide and up to 0.5m high. The western side of the outer bailey is defined by a ditch, approximately 16m wide and 1.2m deep, which has been partly cut by a later drainage gully. Access to the outer bailey would appear to have been from the north via a 10m wide causeway at the northern corner of the enclosure. The southern side of outer bailey defences appears to have been altered when the course of the adjacent stream was straightened. ->

-> Much of area of the inner bailey appears to have been subsequently modified to create a post-medieval formal garden, The northern and eastern sides of the bailey are defined by a ditch between 9m and 15m wide, of which slight traces are visible. Although it has been extensively infilled, it will survive as a buried feature. The ditch is bounded internally by a low flat-topped bank, between 9m and 10m wide and standing up to 1.1m high, This bank continues alongside the northern part of the ditch that divides the baileys, The area defined by these earthworks contains a series of gullies and low linear raised areas, which are believed to represent parterres and walkways of the garden. A later causeway across the southern part of the ditch separating the baileys provides access to this inner enclosure. This formal garden is situated about 250m north east of the former Hodnet Hall, a large timber-framed mansion demolished in 1870. The former hall is not included in the scheduling. In the area adjacent to the castle a deer park was established. In 1275 Odo de Hodnet was granted a licence to divert two routeways which ran through the park to new courses around its perimeter. The original extent of the park in the medieval period is not known, but by the late 16th century, when it is depicted on Saxton's Map of Shropshire, it occupied the hill to the west of the former hall. ->

-> [Details of park pale - see PRN 08086] ... [Details of fishpond - see PRN 08088] ... References indicate that a watermill was situated close to the castle, but its exact location is not known. ->

-> An area of ridge and furrow cultivation, situated within the grounds of the park, exists about 80m to the south of the castle. This area is not included in the scheduling as there is no direct relationship between it and the castle. ->

-> All fence and gate posts, stiles, electricity poles and the disused brick shed are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included. <12>

A management plan was prepared for the castle and associated features in 2010, by Shropshire Council's Historic Environment Countryside Advisor. ->

-> The physical remains of the castle include a steep-sided, oval shaped motte, which is approximately 45m by 50m at the base and 25m by 30m at the top (see Fig. 2). It stands 7m high from the base and is surrounded by a rock cut ditch, the upcast from which has been used to create an external bank. This bank is approximately 12 m wide on the south and east sides of the motte but much wider to the north, where it appears to have been modified to create a level platform within the inner bailey. Remains of a circular masonry tower exist on the western side of the summit of the motte, comprising embanked walls of red standstone approximately 0.5m wide and standing to a height of about 0.7m. This structure was partially excavated by Major Heber-Percy in 1892, who found a cobbled floor surface within the interior and partial remains of an arched doorway. The overlying debris included burnt stone, carbonised timbers and deposits of lead, suggesting the tower had been destroyed by fire. Heber Percy also cut a section through the ditch on the eastern side of the motte, from which he recovered deposits of animal bone and sherds of pottery. In extending the trench, he encountered a second stone building with ashlar work on the lower part of the motte, which projected into the ditch and appeared to overly the remains of an earlier structure. ->

-> Two baileys lie north and west of the motte. The L-shaped inner bailey, adjacent to the motte, has an internal area of 0.5ha and is defined on its northern and eastern sides by a partially infilled ditch between 9m and 15m wide. On the inner side of the ditch is a low, flat topped bank between 9m and 10m wide and up to 1.1m high. On the western side it is separated from the adjoining triangular outer bailey by a 10m wide ditch, with a bank on the western side measuring 8m wide and up to 0.5m high. The outer bailey has an internal area of approximately 0.25ha and is bounded on its western side by a ditch approximately 16m wide and up to 1.2m deep, which has been partially cut by a later drainage ditch. ->

A programme of careful clearance of mature and young tree and scrub cover was recommended. <13>

Photographed during aerial photographic survey in 2009. <15>

<00> Shropshire County Council SMR, Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards, SMR Card for PRN SA 00267 (Card index). SSA20722.

<01> Ordnance Survey, 1975, Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ62NW2 (Card index). SSA1283.

<02> Crawford O G S, Oblique View (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16377.

<03b> Phillips W, 1891/ 1892, Article in Bygones (Article in serial). SSA1282.

<03a> Victoria County History, 1908, Victoria County History 1, p395 (Volume). SSA178.

<03> Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC), 1989-Sep-28, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 15254 (28/09/1989) (Field Monument Warden Report). SSA1284.

<04> Burrow Ian, 1978-Feb-24, Site Visit Form, 24/02/1978 (Field recording form). SSA1287.

<05> Department of the Environment (DoE), 1971, Map of Scheduled area, 1971 (Scheduled Monument notification). SSA1286.

<06> Anon, Oblique View of Hodnet (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16378.

<07> Musson Chris R, 1992-May-05, CPAT 92/C/0713 to 0714 (2 photos) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16379.

<08> Burrow Ian, 1978-Feb/Mar, Hodnet Castle (Photograph). SSA1285.

<09> Barret Gill, 1991, Barret Gill, Oblique View, 1991: 91/01/E/03 (Colour slide) (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA16380.

<10> Various, 1978, Correspondence, 1978 (Correspondence). SSA1281.

<11> Horton Wendy B, 1990/ 1991, MPP Evaluation File, Motte and Bailey Castles, Fishponds (TEXT). SSA20084.

<12> English Heritage, 2001, Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 09/03/2001) (Scheduled Monument notification). SSA20345.

<13> Wigley A, 2010, Management Plan for motte and bailey castle on Castle Hill (Management report). SSA23791.

<14> Newman J & Pevsner N, 2006, Buildings of England: Shropshire, P302 (Monograph). SSA23518.

<15> Shropshire Council, 2009-Apr-5, SA0908_177 (1 photo) Flight: 09_SA_08 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA25839.


[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 00267.
[01]SSA1283 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1975. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ62NW2. Ordnance Survey record cards. SJ62NW2.
[02]SSA16377 - Oblique aerial photograph: Crawford O G S. Oblique View.
[03b]SSA1282 - Article in serial: Phillips W. 1891/ 1892. Article in Bygones. Bygones. Ser 2, Vol 2. p295.
[03]SSA1284 - Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1989-Sep-28. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 15254 (28/09/1989).
[03a]SSA178 - Volume: Victoria County History. 1908. Victoria County History 1. Victoria County History of Shropshire. Vol 1. p395.
[04]SSA1287 - Field recording form: Burrow Ian. 1978-Feb-24. Site Visit Form, 24/02/1978. SMR site visit form.
[05]SSA1286 - Scheduled Monument notification: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1971. Map of Scheduled area, 1971.
[06]SSA16378 - Oblique aerial photograph: Anon. Oblique View of Hodnet. Colour.
[07]SSA16379 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-05. CPAT 92/C/0713 to 0714 (2 photos). Colour. 35mm.
[08]SSA1285 - Photograph: Burrow Ian. 1978-Feb/Mar. Hodnet Castle. Black and white. 35mm.
[09]SSA16380 - Oblique aerial photograph: Barret Gill. 1991. Barret Gill, Oblique View, 1991: 91/01/E/03 (Colour slide). Colour.
[10]SSA1281 - Correspondence: Various. 1978. Correspondence, 1978.
[11]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File. Motte and Bailey Castles, Fishponds.
[12]SSA20345 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 2001. Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 09/03/2001). 33829.
[13]SSA23791 - Management report: Wigley A. 2010. Management Plan for motte and bailey castle on Castle Hill. Shropshire Council.
[14]SSA23518 - Monograph: Newman J & Pevsner N. 2006. Buildings of England: Shropshire. Buildings of England. P302.
[15]SSA25839 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2009-Apr-5. SA0908_177 (1 photo) Flight: 09_SA_08. Colour. Digital.
Date Last Edited:Apr 9 2018 8:48AM