Ancient Monuments

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Norbury camp

A Scheduled Monument in Northleach with Eastington, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.8389 / 51°50'20"N

Longitude: -1.8132 / 1°48'47"W

OS Eastings: 412969.1837

OS Northings: 215608.2764

OS Grid: SP129156

Mapcode National: GBR 4QX.QDJ

Mapcode Global: VHB27.J19L

Entry Name: Norbury camp

Scheduled Date: 18 August 1948

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003350

English Heritage Legacy ID: GC 209

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Northleach with Eastington

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Northleach St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


Large multivallate hillfort with a Romano-British settlement and long barrow collectively called Norbury Camp.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 September 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument, which falls into four separate areas of protection, includes a multivallate hillfort containing a Romano-British settlement and a long barrow situated on the summit of a ridge forming the watershed between the valleys of two tributaries to the Sherborne Brook. The hillfort survives as a roughly rectangular enclosure which covers approximately 36ha and is defined by up to three concentric banks and two ditches which survive differentially throughout the circuit as earthworks of up to 1.3m high, scarps, as features incorporated into modern field boundaries or as entirely buried structures and deposits visible on aerial photographs as crop and soil marks and confirmed by geophysical survey. Excavations in 1977 found at least three four-post built structures and a crouched inhumation.

In the north eastern corner of the hillfort an area of approximately 397m by 212m contains a Romano-British settlement visible as linear and rectangular ditches and features on aerial photographs and confirmed by 1st to 4th century finds including roof and flue tiles retrieved from this area.

In the south western part of the hillfort interior is a long barrow orientated south east to north west which survives as a roughly rectangular mound measuring up to 73m long, 28m wide and 0.6m high with its side ditches preserved entirely as buried features. Large stones were allegedly removed from the mound in the 1930s.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between 5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection of the power struggle between competing elites. Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts, oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered, for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fence lines, hearths and ovens. Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture occurred on many sites.

Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere. They are both rare and important for understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period. Later Iron Age and Romano-British occupation included a range of settlement types. The surviving remains comprise farmsteads, hamlets, villages and hillforts, which together demonstrate an important sequence of settlement. Most examples are characterised by a curvilinear enclosure with circular domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. Where excavated, these sites are also found to contain pits or rectangular post- built structures for the storage of grain and other produce, evidence of an organised and efficient farming system. The surrounding enclosures would have provided protection against cattle rustling and tribal raiding. They were sometimes superseded by rectilinear or triangular shaped enclosures with rectilinear buildings and many examples were occupied over an extended period and some grew in size and complexity.

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 examples of long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded nationally. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be important.

Despite reduction in the height of some earthworks through cultivation, the large multivallate hillfort with a Romano-British settlement and long barrow collectively called Norbury Camp survive well, and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, development, longevity, interrelationships, relative chronologies, social organisation, strategic and territorial significance, funerary and ritual practices, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape 329935, 329938 and 329947

Source: Historic England

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