Ancient Monuments

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Iron Age defended settlement called Roborough Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Brendon and Countisbury, Devon

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Latitude: 51.199 / 51°11'56"N

Longitude: -3.8182 / 3°49'5"W

OS Eastings: 273058.084441

OS Northings: 145989.108411

OS Grid: SS730459

Mapcode National: GBR L2.4LK9

Mapcode Global: VH4MH.R4T6

Entry Name: Iron Age defended settlement called Roborough Castle

Scheduled Date: 13 May 1949

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003281

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 242

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Brendon and Countisbury

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Lynton St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes an Iron Age defended settlement known as Roborough Castle situated on a hill slope overlooking the valley of Hoaroak Water. The defended settlement survives as an oval enclosure measuring up to 70 m long by 64m wide internally defined by a single rampart and partially buried outer ditch. The rampart bank is up to 1.7m high and the ditch up to 4.3m wide and 0.6m deep. There is a simple gap entrance to the south east. There are two low irregular shaped platforms in the centre of the enclosure. The defended settlement is shown on the 1840 Tithe map and annotated 'Danish Fort'.

PastScape Monument No:-35176

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were constructed and occupied in south western England. At the top of the settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group. Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south western England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. Despite reduction in the height of the rampart and disturbance to the interior through cultivation and some limited quarrying in the south western part of the enclosure, Roborough Castle survives comparatively well and will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, use and landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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