Monument details

HER Number:1667/1
Type of record:Archaeology
Name:Castle Hill motte and ditch system, Oldcastle


Castle Hill. Situated on a spur overlooking the deep valley of the Wych Brook. In 1882, Ormerod noted a number of small hills & on the summit of one were indications of the works of an ancient fortress. In July 1957, the felling of trees revealed an impressive earthwork, consisting of a small platform on the crest of the spur c.100ft x 36ft, with well-defined ditch systems along each end. At the SE end, overlooking the river are 3 short transverse ditches, each c.60ft long x 40ft wide & 16ft deep. At the NW end, the neck of the spur is cut by 2 ditches, the inner one being 60-70ft wide. This inner ditch was sectioned by a trench 14ft long x 3ft wide. The fill was clean, undifferentiated clay, 4.5ft deep to the bottom of the ditch. No finds. Trenching on the platform produced no finds, but there were indications of a layer of stone on the natural clay & a possible hearth. Possibly an outpost to the castle at Malpas. Motte castle in strategic position on a narrow promontory formed by a meander of the Wych brook on the England - Wales border. Site comprises Motte c.30m x 11m in a central position along the promontory. The Motte is protected by a well defined system of defensive features including 3 short traverse ditches to the SE river side of the Motte & and a further 2 banked ditches to the NW landward side.

Motte - This type of fortified Castle was introduced into Britain by the Normans. Is one of several castles in Cheshire that were constructed in the medieval period to defend the rich agricultural resources of Cheshire from raids.


Monument Types

  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • DITCH ( 5 of, Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • MOTTE (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD? (?))
  • PLATFORM (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1012124: Castle Hill Motte And Ditch System, Oldcastle

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