Ancient Monuments

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Iron Age defended settlement at Padderbury Top

A Scheduled Monument in St. Germans, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4249 / 50°25'29"N

Longitude: -4.375 / 4°22'29"W

OS Eastings: 231397.615928

OS Northings: 61037.634583

OS Grid: SX313610

Mapcode National: GBR NK.QQ16

Mapcode Global: FRA 17QX.WYY

Entry Name: Iron Age defended settlement at Padderbury Top

Scheduled Date: 17 March 1977

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007297

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 1039

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Germans

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Germans Group Parish

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes an Iron Age defended settlement, situated on the summit of a prominent hill called Padderbury Top. The settlement survives as a roughly circular central enclosure defined by an inner rampart bank of up to 3m high. It is concentrically surrounded by a closely-set second rampart defined as a scarp of up to 1m high. Aerial photographs reveal there were originally up to four lines of defence, one between the two visible ramparts and an outer bank with ditch. These, together with the ditches associated with the visible ramparts, are preserved as buried features.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-436736

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, multivallate sites more than one. 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. The Iron Age defended settlement at Padderbury Top is a relatively small monument with a topographically impressive location and a complex series of defences. Despite reduction in the height of the ramparts through cultivation, it will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, territorial significance, social organisation, function, domestic arrangements, agricultural practices and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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