Shropshire History


Castles & Fortifications


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Hill Forts


Timber Castles

Stone Castles

Fortified Houses




Since very early times, the inhabitants of Shropshire have needed to fortify their homes to protect themselves against enemies. The very early examples of fortifications were the Hill Forts dating from the Iron Age and possibly even earlier. A convenient flat-topped hill would be encircled with ditches and the excavated soil made into banks.  In Saxon times, the principle of the ditch and bank was used to make long defensive boundaries such as Offa’s Dyke and Wat’s Dyke.  After the Normans invaded, a lord of the manor usually wanted a display of power and simple Ringworks were constructed, with a circular ditch and bank topped by a timber palisade. The lord’s house would be built inside this and many made an artificial mound of earth in the centre called a Motte to raise it up.  Larger castles were made of stone and many can be seen today, although a great number were slighted (destroyed) in the English Civil War.  Later on, lords desired a greater degree of comfort so built fortified houses.


Click on the links above to find out about the various kinds of fortification in Shropshire.