Ancient Monuments

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Large univallate hillfort with outworks 800m west of White Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Stowey-Sutton, Bath and North East Somerset

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Latitude: 51.324 / 51°19'26"N

Longitude: -2.6005 / 2°36'1"W

OS Eastings: 358251.865364

OS Northings: 158494.250017

OS Grid: ST582584

Mapcode National: GBR JQ.WW0C

Mapcode Global: VH896.WZ2D

Entry Name: Large univallate hillfort with outworks 800m west of White Cross

Scheduled Date: 17 May 1978

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004526

English Heritage Legacy ID: BA 172

County: Bath and North East Somerset

Civil Parish: Stowey-Sutton

Built-Up Area: Bishop Sutton

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a large univallate hillfort with outworks, situated on the summit of a prominent hill, overlooking the Chew Valley Lake. The hillfort survives as a rectangular enclosure defined by a single rampart bank standing up to 4.5m high externally and 0.6m high internally with an outer ditch measuring up to 7m wide and 1.5m deep. An additional outwork has been appended on the eastern side in the form of a similarly-defined rectangular enclosure. Partial excavations in 1955 indicated that the rampart banks were largely stone-built with some walling. Within the hillfort, excavation produced post holes, pits, paving, gullies and finds included iron working slag, a saddle quern rubber, Iron Age pottery and animal bone. The hillfort is known locally as 'Burledge Hillfort'.

Sources: PastScape 197270

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen. The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by outworks. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Large univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north. Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual components. They are comparatively rare and are important for understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron Age society. Despite some quarrying to the north, the large univallate hillfort with outworks 800m west of White Cross survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, trade, agricultural practices, social organisation, territorial and strategic significance, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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