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Upper Gwarthlow Motte

in the Civil Parish of Clungunford, Shropshire, England

Map link for Upper Gwarthlow Motte

Text and photographs copyright © by Philip Davis

Medieval motte surviving as an earthwork. A turf-covered motte 27m in diameter at the base, 6m in height, with a level summit, 11.5m across. There were no traces of a ditch. This large and impressive mound on a hilltop has very good views all round and can be seen from a large area. There is no history for the site.

There is no evidence of residential use and the windswept site is an unlikely residential site in my view. King and Spurgeon wrote intense cultivation has infilled the ditch. I observed no particular signs of intense cultivation or of particularly intense erosion and I feel the mound never had a ditch. There is no bailey. If a castle then presumably used as a watch tower. Although all the authorities are certain of this site as a motte I have my doubts and wonder if this is a Saxon hlaew (A large burial mound), possibly connected with nearby Offa's dyke.

The site is accessible by footpath although the narrow country lanes of the nearby roads make parking difficult. This is a Scheduled Monument.

Photos taken 5 March 2006


  • Salter, Mike, 2001 (2edn), The Castles and Moated Mansions of Shropshire (Malvern).
  • Jackson, M.J.,1988, Castles of Shropshire (Shrewsbury: Shropshire Libraries) p26
    [Where the site description include mention of a none existent ditch!]
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum Vol2 (London: Kraus).
  • Page, Wm. (ed), 1908, VCH Shropshire Vol1 p383, 385 [plan].
  • King, D.J.C. and Spurgeon, C.J., 1965, 'The mottes in the Vale of Montgomery' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol114 p79-80 [plan].
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1963, 'Early castles in Wales and the Marches: a preliminary list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol112 p77-124.
  • Chitty, Lily, 1949, 'Subsidiary Castle Sites West of Shrewsbury' Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society Vol53 p83-90.


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