Ancient Monuments

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Ethelbert's Camp

A Scheduled Monument in Mordiford, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.0466 / 52°2'47"N

Longitude: -2.6039 / 2°36'14"W

OS Eastings: 358676.869343

OS Northings: 238865.564953

OS Grid: SO586388

Mapcode National: GBR FQ.FBQ2

Mapcode Global: VH85Q.TT8F

Entry Name: Ethelbert's Camp

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1928

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003534

English Heritage Legacy ID: HE 14

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Mordiford

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Dormington

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


Hillfort known as Backbury Camp, 810m north west of Mission Church, Checkley.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 May 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.

This monument includes the remains of a small multivallate hillfort situated on Backbury Hill on the eastern side of the River Frome. The monument survives as the visible earthworks and buried features of a small multivallate hillfort. The hillfort enclosure is sub oval in plan approximately 318m long by 210m wide with an entrance gap on the south western side and an inturned entrance gap on the north. The hillfort is defined by a steep natural slope beneath two ramparts and associated quarry ditches with an additional rampart bank and ditch along the northern boundary.

The hillfort is also known as Ethelbert’s Camp.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety of scattered post and stake holes. In view of the rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Despite partial quarrying and the construction of pathways and wire and post fences, the hillfort known as Backbury Camp survives comparatively well. The interior of the hillfort, ramparts and ditches will contain layers and deposits containing important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and use.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:- 110051, Herefordshire SMR:- 908, NMR:- SO 53 NE 2

Source: Historic England

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