HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Shropshire HER Result
Shropshire HERPrintable version | About Shropshire HER | Visit Shropshire HER online...

HER Number (PRN):01040
Name:Moated site SE of Blake Mere (Blakemere Castle)
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1017013: Moated site

Monument Type(s):


Scheduled Monument: Though somewhat disturbed, Blakemere Castle, which has produced archaeological evidence of 12th-16th century occupation, is prominently situated and is regarded as a good example of a medieval moated manor site.

Parish:Whitchurch Urban, North Shropshire, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SJ54SE
Grid Reference:SJ 5598 4245

Related records: None recorded

Associated Finds

  • FSA15 - VESSEL (11th century to 15th century - 1066 AD to 1499 AD)
  • FSA205 - JAR (12th century to 13th century - 1100 AD to 1200 AD)
  • FSA16 - UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (13th century to 14th century - 1200 AD to 1399 AD)

Associated Events

  • ESA1088 - 1957 Excavation at Blake Mere, Whitchurch
  • ESA1089 - 1963 Excavation at Blake Mere, Whitchurch
  • ESA1090 - 1957 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA1091 - 1962 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA1092 - 1976 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA1093 - 1977 field observation by Shropshire County Council
  • ESA1094 - 1978 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA1095 - 1981 field observation by Shropshire County Council
  • ESA1096 - 1982 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA1097 - 1983 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA1098 - 1988 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA1099 - 1986 field observation by English Heritage


A c12 storage jar, potsherds and c13/ C14 iron work were unearthed in 1963…by R W Griffiths.
A moated mound on the southern side of Blake Mere. Two sides of the moat remain with a stream, probably the feeder on the south west side. The north west side slopes down to the waters edge of
Blakemere. It is said to have been associated with the Le Strange family since the 12th century and to have been the site of a manor house in 1650. By 1695 it was in a ruinous condition. Excavations were carried out in 1963 by Griffiths and Ellis who cut a section 32 feet long by 3 feet wide through the south east side of the moat, starting 4 feet from the top of the mound and going through the ditch up to the natural level of the field. Seven layers were discovered dating from the possible 13th century to 19th century. Finds included pottery, metal objects and a prehistoric axe-head found at the very bottom of the ditch. <11>

Moated site situated on a level ridge of ground on the S side of Blakemere lake. The ground on the N side slopes away to the edge of the lake, that on the S side falls away much more gently. Rectangular moated site whose island is raised c 2m above the surrounding ground level and measures c48m x 52m. The interior is level but has been dug into by what appear to be a series of archaeological trenches, particularly on its N and W sides. On its W side the island has been partially dug away and the ditch filled in. The other arms of the oat still survive but the NE and SE arms are very shallow due to ploughing..The NW arm is up to 0.8m deep and has an outer retaining bank which has been terraced out of the natural slope of the ground. This bank is c8m wide and from its outer edge a natural scarp has been utilised to form a further terrace. All the moat arms are now dry and average c 10m in width. At the W end of the NW arm a raised embankment or causeway c5m wide runs down to the edge of the lake. This may be an original causeway leading from a landing place by the side of the lake. M Watson FI 1981 <13>

Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1, Low score as one of 133 Moated sites <15>

Scheduling revised in 1999. Scheduling description: ->

-> The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated site situated in a prominent position overlooking a natural pool known as Blake Mere, and with extensive views of the countryside to the south east. ->

-> Documentary sources indicate that a manor house belonging to the Le Strange family existed here in the 12th century. It passed to the Talbots in the 14th century, and in 1383 was the birthplace of John Talbot, the first Earl of Shrewsbury. The Talbot family sold the manor in 1590 and by the end of the following century the house was in ruins. ->

-> The moated site was constructed on ground which rises from south to north, alongside the former edge of Blake Mere. This natural pool is likely to have served as a fishpond, although it is not included in the scheduling. Three of the four moat arms that define the island survive as visible earthworks and are now dry. The south western arm has been infilled but survives as a buried feature. The north western and south eastern arms are about 14m wide, the north eastern arm is about 20m wide and the width of the south western arm was probably similar to the arm on the opposite side. Material excavated from the moat has been used to raise the surface of the island up to 2m above the level of the surrounding land. The island measures approximately 56m north west - south east. Quarrying for soil in modern times has modified the original south western side of the island and has resulted in the formation of an irregular scarp along this side. From the adjacent moat arms it would appear that the island originally measured about 60m south west -north east. ->

-> A series of slit trenches each about a metre wide run across the western and northern parts of the island. These trenches, and other associated hollows and mounds, are the remnants of modern small-scale excavations. In 1963 a trench was dug across the south eastern moat arm. During this investigation artefacts dating between the 12th and 16th centuries were discovered, together with the remains of two 16th century retaining walls. <16>

Photographed during aerial survey in 2007. <17><18>

Visible on LiDAR imagery. <19>

Annotated survey at 1:2500. <20>
The earthwork comprises a prominent, flat-topped rectangular earthen mound, some 60.0m square and 1.0 to 1.5m in height above the surrounding ground, surrounded by a weak ditch of 10.0m maximum width, and with an average depth of 0.7m. The mound has been dug away for the soil on the W side, and the ditch is barely traceable. From the elevated position of the earthwork, above the Mere to the N, and allowing for ploughing and silting up, it is unlikely that the ditch was ever of any great depth or held water. The site is probably that of a manor house. The Whitchurch Museum collection is in store awaiting new museum premises.
Published 1:2500 survey, 1963/71, correct. <20a>


[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 01040.
[01]SSA3801 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1976. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ54SE1. Ordnance Survey record cards. SJ54SE1.
[02]SSA16974 - Oblique aerial photograph: Cambridge University Collection of Air Photos (CUCAP). 1963-May-15. CUCAP AGX87 to AGX88 (2 Photos). Black and white.
[03]SSA16975 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1983-Aug-03. CPAT 83/14/0011A to 0015A (5 photos).
[04]SSA16976 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1983. CPAT 83/01/0007 to 0009 (3 photos).
[05]SSA16977 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1983-Aug-03. CPAT 83/C/0327 to 0328 (2 photos). Colour. 35mm.
[06]SSA16978 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1983-Mar-20. CPAT 83/S/0028 to 0030 (3 photos).
[07]SSA3803 - Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1989-Aug-21. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 35281 (21/08/1989).
[08]SSA3799 - Article in serial: Egerton. 1913/ 1920. Article in the Transactions of the Caradoc and Severn Valley Field Club. Trans Caradoc Severn Valley Fld Club. Vol 6. p51.
[09]SSA3805 - Site visit report: Burrow Ian. 1977-Mar-11. Visit Notes, 11/03/1977.
[10]SSA3800 - Monograph: Le Strange H. 1916. Le Strange Records. p294.
[11]SSA23268 - Article in serial: Griffiths R W. 1963. Excavations at Blakemere Castle, Whitchurch. Shropshire News Letter. 24. 215-317. p2.
[12]SSA244 - Monograph: Renn D F. 1968. Norman Castles of Britain. p344.
[13]SSA3804 - Field recording form: Watson Michael D. 1981-Jan-13. Site Visit Form, 13/01/1981. SMR site visit form.
[14]SSA3802 - Scheduled Monument notification: Ministry of Works. 1958. Map of Scheduled area, 1958.
[15]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File.
[16]SSA21281 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 1999. Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 27/09/1999). 32313.
[17]SSA24932 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2007-Jul-31. SA0703_036 to SA0703_038 (3 photos) Flight: 07_SA_03. Colour. Digital.
[18]SSA26825 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2007-Jul-31. SA0703_166 to SA0703_167 (2 photos) Flight: 07_SA_03. Colour. Digital.
[19]SSA24735 - Geospatial data: Environment Agency. 2014. LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) Hillshade Model.
[20]SSA31554 - Site visit report: Ordnance Survey Field Investigator. Various. NRHE: Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments. F1 JHW 11-APR-62.
[20a]SSA31554 - Site visit report: Ordnance Survey Field Investigator. Various. NRHE: Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments. F2 ASP 02-APR-76.
Date Last Edited:Nov 5 2021 3:48PM