Shotwick Castle, Cheshire

Cheshire county is filled with dozens of historical houses and castles. Shotwick Castle is one of these. Shotwick Castle is a Norman medieval fortification which is located near the village of Saughall, Cheshire, England. The construction of this motte and bailey castle began in the late 11th century. Shotwick Castle was built in order to control a crossing point on the River Dee between England and Wales. Shotwick Castle has an important history and the site of the castle is a scheduled monument. Interestingly, no masonry features of Shotwick Castle remain above ground except for the earthworks.

The History of Shotwick Castle

Shotwick Castle was built by Hugh Lupus, 1st Earl of Chester, around 1093. Shotwick Castle was in use from the 11th century until the 14th century. The castle had an earthen hexagonal motte and an outer bailey. The main purpose of Shotwick Castle was to control the movements across a tidal ford that once existed at this point in history on the original course of the River Dee. In the 18th century, the River Dee was diverted to the south along a man-made canalised section. Shotwick Castle had two large defensive ditches that became flooded at high tide times. The various earls of Chester paid for the upkeep of Shotwick Castle during the 12th and the early 13th centuries. Both Henry II and Henry III had stayed at Shotwick Castle during their campaigns against the Welsh forces. By the 17th century, Shotwick Castle was in ruins and had become Shotwick Park.

The Archaeology of Shotwick Castle

A survey of the earthworks of Shotwick Castle revealed that the castle had become a country house with ornamental gardens in the late medieval period. In 1867, a local schoolmaster made a partial excavation of the Shotwick Castle site.