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St Martins, Oaklands Mount

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Chirk Bank

In the civil parish of Weston Rhyn.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ29033702
Latitude 52.92593° Longitude -3.05712°

St Martins, Oaklands Mount has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The motte castle adjacent to Oaklands Hall is a well-preserved example of this class of monument, despite some later modification to its northern side. The mound will retain buried evidence relating to the nature of the occupation and the structures that were built upon it. Organic remains preserved within the buried ground surface under the mound and within the surrounding ditch will provide valuable evidence about the local environment and the use of the land before and after the motte castle was constructed. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by its association with the motte castle on the opposite side of the valley at Chirk.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a motte castle built on an east to north east facing slope and occupying a commanding position at the top of the southern side of the Ceiriog valley. The River Ceiriog is the ancient border between England and Wales. On the opposite side of the valley, 550m to the north, there is another motte castle which is the subject of a separate scheduling. These castles appear to have been sited to give a clear view of each other in order to control the movement of people crossing the border and passing along the river valley. The flat-topped, steep sided oval mound is constructed of earth and stone. It measures approximately 26m by 40m at its base, 10m by 26m across the top, and varies in height from 1.3m at the west to 3m at the east. A terraced path has been cut into the northern side of the mound. Although no longer visible at ground level, a ditch, from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument, surrounds the mound. This has become infilled over the years and survives as a buried feature, approximately 5m wide. (Scheduling Report)

This site was probably one of five berewicks in the extensive but sparsely populated (and still mainly welsh) Domesday manor of Westone (Weston Rhyn. A named subtenant, Robert, held one hide from Reginald the sheriff but it is not possible to say if this motte represent the site of his holding or what service he held the tenancy by. However, it would seem likely the motte, adjacent to a seemingly unfortified or simply fenced, and probably isolated, hall and farm would have been surmount by a wooden tower the main function of which would most likely a symbolic representation of the military status of the farms tenant, possibly owing castle guard to Oswestry or Shrewsbury castle. However, in this case, the motte does overlook a crossing of the River Ceiriog, which marks the welsh border at this point but there are other nearby crossings of the river which are not 'guarded' by castles and this 'guard post' could have be bypassed although legitimate travellers and drovers may have been willing to pay some toll to use the convenient road overlooked by this motte and Castell y Waun on the other bank.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

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