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Bretchel; The Beacon

In the civil parish of Alberbury With Cardeston.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ33631182
Latitude 52.69997° Longitude -2.98358°

Bretchel; The Beacon has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The motte castle south west of Bretchel survives well and is a good example of its class. It will retain archaeological information relating to its construction and occupation. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was constructed will survive sealed on the old land surface beneath the motte and in the ditch fill. Such motte castles, when considered either as single monuments or as a part of a broader landscape, contribute valuable information concerning the settlement pattern, economy and social structure of the countryside during the medieval period.
The monument includes the remains of a small motte castle situated on the summit of a small hill overlooking, to the south, the main east to west valley routeway between Shrewsbury and Welshpool. It includes a small, steep sided castle mound, or motte, of earth and rubble construction, roughly circular in plan with a base diameter of 15m. The motte summit stands 3m above the surrounding natural land surface and has a diameter of approximately 8m. A ditch, from which material for the construction of the mound was quarried, remains visible as a slight surface depression 3m wide and 0.1m deep surrounding the motte. (Scheduling Report)

The Beacon at Bretchel is a very small motte with traces of a ditch, but none of a bailey. It is about 25ft across its damaged top by 8-10ft high (Spurgeon and King)
As described by Spurgeon and King, although all traces of a ditch have now gone. OS FI 1971 (Ordnance Survey Record Card 1977)
Small rectangular bailey visible as cropmark attached to SE side of motte. Possible entrance on its E side. The motte ditch also shows as a cropmark (Field Monument Warden Report 1986). (Shropshire HER)

Small motte and possible lost bailey. Damaged by ploughing but can never have been a substantial earthwork. In the C13 Bretchel (Breddeshill) was held by a sub-tenant of the Corbets and it seems probably the site represents a farmstead held by military service (? half a knights fee due at Caus) and the motte was symbolic of this service.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:34

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