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):01051
Name:Castle Pulverbatch motte and bailey castle, 100m NNW of Brook Cottage
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1012860: Castle Pulverbatch

Monument Type(s):


Scheduled Monument: Castle Pulverbatch, which possesses substantial surviving earthworks and an undisturbed interior, is one of the finest examples of Norman motte and bailey castles in Shropshire.

Parish:Church Pulverbatch, Shrewsbury and Atcham, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SJ40SW
Grid Reference:SJ 4224 0219

Related records: None recorded

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESA1137 - 1980 contour survey at Castle Pulverbatch motte and bailey castle by N. R. Stillman, Birmingham University
  • ESA1138 - 1965 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA1139 - 1971 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA1140 - 1971 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA1141 - 1980 field observation by Shropshire County Council
  • ESA1142 - 1983 field observation by English Heritage
  • ESA7514 - 2015 DBA of four castle sites in the Welsh Marches, part of the Stiperstones and Corndon Hill Country Landscape Partnership Scheme by SCAS and CPAT
  • ESA4785 - 1992-2000 Summary Condition Survey of SAMs in the Shropshire Hills Environmentally Sensitive Area by English Heritage
  • ESA8253 - 2017 Resistivity and magnetometry survey at Castle Pulverbatch by Archaeological Surveys Ltd
  • ESA8254 - 2017 Photogrammetric (UAV) survey at Castle Pulverbatch by Aerial Cam
  • ESA8719 - 2018 GPR survey at Castle Pulverbatch motte and bailey, by David Ashby
  • ESA8625 - 2014 Heritage at Risk Survey by Historic England


History: Held by Roger Venator 1086 and still in existence though derelict (?) in 1202 <1a>
MOTTE. Rises 28ft above ditch, with an inner bailey to the NE defended by a 5ft high bank with an outer ditch. The outer bailey on the W side retains its ditch and a rampart 5ft high except where obliterated on the N. There is a tradition of stonework having formerly existed on the site <1b> <1c>

The motte constructed on a natural knoll rises some 7.4m above a steep natural slope on its SE side. A ditch 2.6m deep defends it on the NE and W sides. There is no evidence of stonework on the top of the motte which has been dug into on the S side. Inner bailey square or rectangular in shape with the east side destroyed by quarrying. It is defended by a bank which rises some 1.5m above the interior and 4.2m above the outer bailey and is surrounded by a ditch 1.2m deep. The outline of two rectangular buildings can be discerned as cropmarks in the N angle of the bailey in dry weather. A large pit in the inner bailey at SJ 42260220 compares in size and position with that at Bishops Moat. (SA145), (and at Hen Domen, Powys ) The outer bailey to the west is triangular in shape, defended by a bank up to 1.2m high on the west and a scarp up to 2.2m high on the south. OS Antiquity model stuck on card. OS FI 1971 <1d><1e>

Site is as described above [<1>]. Outside the bank of the outer bailey to NW and SW is a ditch which has been filled with brush wood and is overgrown particularly on the NW side. Close contour survey of baileys being carried out by Nigel Stillman, Univ of Birmingham. <5>

A contour survey was undertaken in 1980 of the motte and bailey castle. This survey concentrated on the inner and outer bailey of the castle, revealing a number of possible features which were considered likely to be part of the original structure. The wider context of the castle is considered, including discussion of a number of other nearby sites. Includes hachured survey plan, and contour plan, of the earthworks. <19>

Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1, High score as one of 46 Motte and Bailey Castles. <21>

Scheduling revised in 1996. Scheduling description: ->

-> The monument includes Castle Pulverbatch motte and double bailey castle situated at the northern end of a small steep sided ridge overlooking to the north east the village of Pulverbatch set in a small valley, through which the natural valley route from Shrewsbury to Bishops Castle once ran. The manor was held by Roger Venator in 1086 and it is possible that he was responsible for the construction of the castle, though it is not until 1153 that the castle is first mentioned in texts of the period. By 1202 the castle, although still in existence, had been deserted and was falling into disrepair. ->

-> The castle earthworks include a castle mound or motte, roughly circular in plan with a base diameter of 35m standing up to 8m high. The motte has been constructed on the edge of the ridge to make maximum strategic use of the natural topography. Although there is now no trace of any masonry on the motte there is a local tradition that stonework formerly existed on the site. A substantial ditch, 7m wide and 2.6m deep, with a counterscarp bank 4m wide and 0.8m high separates the castle motte from the flat ground to the west. Around the east and south east sides of the motte no ditch is visible and it may be that the steep natural slopes, which fall to the south east, provided sufficient defence. There are two conjoined baileys designed to contain and protect the domestic buildings of the castle. The smaller, inner bailey lies on the north east side of the motte and a larger outer bailey lies to the north west. The inner bailey lies adjacent to the motte and is rectangular in plan with internal dimensions of 28m north east to south west by 30m transversely. ->

-> Around its north west and north east sides the bailey is defended by a substantial bank approximately 10m wide and 4.2m high on its outside, 1.5m high on its inside. Around the south east side the natural hillslope has been cut back to create a steep scarp slope above the natural approach to the castle. A ditch 6m wide and 1.2m deep runs for approximately 40m along the western side of the north east bailey, turning into the bailey rampart at its southern end short of the motte ditch, to allow passage between the inner and outer baileys. A similar section of ditch runs for 30m parallel to the north east section of rampart. A large pit 6m in diameter and 1.2m deep lies in the south west sector of the north east bailey, adjacent to the motte ditch. The outer bailey lies adjacent to the motte on its north west side and is roughly triangular in shape with internal dimensions of 80m north to south by 40m east to west. It is defended by a bank up to 6.5m wide and 1.4m high along its north west side and by a scarp 2.2m high along its south west side. A ditch up to 5m wide and lm deep runs along the outside of both bank and scarp. Around the northern side of the enclosure the bailey rampart lies adjacent to the modern roadway; a section of the rampart at the northern corner of the site is crossed by a trackway leading into the interior of the site. <22>

Photographed during aerial survey in 2010. <25>

A programme of desk-based research, limited survey and a condition survey were undertaken of Castle Pulverbatch in 2015, as part of the 'Helping Hillforts and Earthwork Castles' project undertaken by the Stiperstones and Corndon Hill Country Landscape Partnership Scheme. ->

-> This outlines the historical development of the castle and the surrounding demesne. A plan from an earthwork survey was produced in 1980 (<19>); this was enhanced with LiDAR imagery and recent aerial photography and checked on the ground to create a composite hachure plan. Includes a brief condition report on the monument, from May 2015. <26>

Visited during a condition survey by the English Heritage Field Monument Warden, in 2000. Condition recorded as fair, although management issues were identified. <27>

A geophysical survey, comprising earth resistance measurement (resistivity) and magnetometry, was carried out at Castle Pulverbatch Motte and Bailey in April 2017. The work was undertaken for the Stiperstones and Corndon Hill Country Landscape Partnership Scheme with funding from the Castle Studies Trust in order to support the understanding of the character and extent of the archaeological features within the site. The survey was carried out over all accessible areas within the inner and outer baileys. ->

-> The results of the earth resistance survey reveal a number of high resistance responses within the inner bailey that appear consistent with features of archaeological potential. These include a number of high resistance linear, rectilinear and a curvilinear response that may relate to structural remains. The magnetometer survey revealed a broad, ditch-like feature along the eastern side of the inner bailey, with discrete positive responses possibly indicating pit-like features or an association with burning. One discrete anomaly corresponds with the interior of the high resistance curvilinear response and together they may indicate a circular structure, such as a well. Within the outer bailey there are a large number of high resistance linear, rectilinear, discrete and amorphous anomalies, with the general trend parallel with the responses located within the inner bailey and also the bailey banks and ditches. The morphology of the high resistance anomalies is not well defined, but it is also possible that these relate to features with archaeological potential. The magnetometer results show a number of broad, parallel, positive and negative anomalies, some of which correspond to high resistance anomalies. It is possible that some relate to internal trackways extending northwards from an entrance within the southern bank. <28>

A programme of photogrammetric survey by UAV (drone) was carried out in 2017 to complement the geophysical survey (<28>) being undertaken on this site as part of a programme of work funded by the Castle Studies Trust. The survey results were presented as a 3D model which allowed detailed analysis of the earthworks at Castle Pulverbatch to be undertaken. <29>

A summary article discussing the results of the 2017 earth resistance measurement (resistivity) and magnetometry survey, the photogrammetric survey and subsequent GPR survey (see <28><29>). This draws heavily upon previous survey work carried out in 1980 on the site (see <19>). <30>


[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 01051.
[01a]SSA1141 - Volume: Anon. 1934/ 1935. Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society. Transactions Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Vol 48. pxiv.
[01c]SSA178 - Volume: Victoria County History. 1908. Victoria County History 1. Victoria County History of Shropshire. Vol 1. p392-393.
[01b]SSA244 - Monograph: Renn D F. 1968. Norman Castles of Britain. p288.
[01d]SSA31554 - Site visit report: Ordnance Survey Field Investigator. Various. NRHE: Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments. F1 DRB 27-MAY-71.
[01e]SSA31554 - Site visit report: Ordnance Survey Field Investigator. Various. NRHE: Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments. F2 FKB 02-JUL-71.
[01]SSA3864 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1971. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ40SW3. Ordnance Survey record cards. SJ40SW3.
[02]SSA16994 - Oblique aerial photograph: Cambridge University Collection of Air Photos (CUCAP). 1956-Jul-25. CUCAP TN29 to TN30 (2 Photos). Black and white.
[03]SSA16995 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1984-Dec-11. CPAT 84/39/0007 and 0009 (2 photos).
[04]SSA16996 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1984-Dec-11. CPAT 84/C/0513 to 0514 (2 photos). Colour. 35mm.
[05]SSA3871 - Site visit report: Tyler Alan W. 1980. Visit Notes, Aug 1980.
[06]SSA3870 - Field Monument Warden Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (HBMC). 1986. Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 20492.
[07]SSA3869 - Photograph: Watson Michael D. Motte and Bailey, Church Pulverbach. Colour.
[08]SSA16997 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-03. CPAT 92/MB/0404 and 0405A and 0405B (3 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[09]SSA16998 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-03. CPAT 92/MB/0418 to 0419 (2 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[10]SSA16999 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-03. CPAT 92/C/0688 to 0689 (2 photos). Colour. 35mm.
[11]SSA17000 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1992-May-03. CPAT 92/MC07/0006. Colour. Medium.
[12]SSA3867 - Scheduled Monument notification: Ministry of Public Buildings and Works. 1967. Map of Scheduled area, 1967.
[13]SSA3860 - Correspondence: English Heritage. 1990. Correspondence, 1990.
[14]SSA3861 - Correspondence: Various. 1983. Correspondence, 1983.
[15]SSA3863 - Correspondence: Ministry of Public Building and Works. 1968. Correspondence, 1968.
[16]SSA3866 - Photograph: Tyler Alan W. 1980-Aug/Sep. Inner Bailey, Castle Pulverbatch. Black and white. 35mm.
[17]SSA3865 - Photograph: Watson Michael D. 1983-Nov/Dec. Motte And Bailey, Castle Pulverbatch. Black and white. 35mm.
[18]SSA3859 - Correspondence: English Heritage & Shropshire County Council. 1992. Correspondence, Jan 1992.
[19]SSA3862 - Field survey report: Stillman N. 1980. Castle Pulverbatch - A Field Survey of a Motte and Bailey Earthwork in Shropshire.
[20]SSA17001 - Oblique aerial photograph: Barret Gill. 1993. Barret Gill, Barret Gill, Oblique View, 1993: 93/Q/03-04 (Colour slide): 93/Q/06-07 (Colour slide). Colour.
[21]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File.
[22]SSA3868 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 1996. Scheduling Papers (Revised Scheduling, 12/09/1996). 19193.
[23]SSA21670 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 2000-Mar-05. CPAT 00/MB/2023 to 2026 (4 photos). Black and White. Medium.
[24]SSA22535 - Monograph: Watson Michael D. 2002. Shropshire An Archaeological Guide. p54-55.
[25]SSA26623 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2010-Mar-8. SA1005_044 to SA1005_050 (7 photos) Flight: 10_SA_05. Colour. Digital.
[26]SSA28069 - Deskbased survey report: Hannaford Hugh R & Silvester R. 2015. Desk-based studies of four castles in the Welsh Marches: Castle Pulverbatch, More Castle, Wilmington Castle & Hyssington Castle. SCAS Rep. 371.
[27]SSA20802 - Field survey report: Leigh Judith. 2001. Scheduled Ancient Monuments in the Shropshire Hills ESA: Brief Condition Survey.
[28]SSA29457 - Geophysical survey report: Donaldson K T & Sabin D J. 2017. Castle Pulverbatch Motte and Bailey, Shropshire: earth resistance & magnetometer survey report. Archaeological Survey Report Series. J708.
[29]SSA29458 - Webpage: Stanford A. 2016. 3D model generated from photogrammetric survey, Castle Pulverbatch. https://sketchfab.com/models/db72eaf96af34fb3b9b9d8979d9127b0. https://sketchfab.com/models/d3ffa9542b3f45a097e18d6b9b274e0f.
[30]SSA30468 - Article in serial: Carey Giles. 2018. Capturing the Castle: recent survey work at Castle Pulverbatch Motte and Bailey, Shropshire. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. 93. pp.31-44.
Date Last Edited:Jan 5 2022 2:56PM