Monument details

HER Number:2025/1/1
Type of record:Archaeology
Name:Shotwick Castle Motte and Bailey and late Medieval garden remains


Shotwick Castle was a royal manor and commanded a ford over the River Dee. It is assumed to have been built by Norman Earls of Chester as protection against the Welsh. Hugh Lupus who held Cheshire under William I, probably built the castle in the eleventh century. By the thirteenth century the castle was in the possession of the King, who instigated a programme repairs. Edward I stayed in the Castle in 1278, as did the Black Prince in 1353. Until 1281 the castle was used in the wars against the Welsh. In 1281 peace was declared and custody of the Castle became a mark of royal favour rather than a post of military importance.

The monument at Shotwick includes a medieval motte and bailey castle on the crest of a steep escarpment above the east bank of the former course of the River Dee. Its defensive position is enhanced by two steep sided watercourses flanking it on the north and south sides. The motte itself is a small mound, hexagonal in plan and 40m by 20m at the top. From limited excavation in the last century there appears to be the foundations of the stone keep surviving to a depth of 2.3m under the turf. The motte ditch surrounds the motte and is about 25m wide and 3m deep. This would have been flooded at high tide. To the south east is a small bailey 38m wide at the top.

In 1327 the manor was emparked as a royal game park for the recreation of Edward III. The manor was occupied under a series of owners acting as magistrates for the Crown until the estate was aquired by the Wilbraham family in 1627. At this time the castle appears to have been in ruins. At some date within the late medieval period the north western part of the site was formed into a series of water garden features and the bailey was sculpted into a formal garden with terraces and parterres. The moat may have been widened at the same time to make a further water feature for this garden scheme.


Monument Types

  • BAILEY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MANOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOTTE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1016616: Shotwick Castle Motte and Bailey and Late Medieval Garden Remains

Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West & Chester Council - Working in Partnership
Heritage Lottery Fund