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Castle Crag slight univallate hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Shap Rural, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5073 / 54°30'26"N

Longitude: -2.8216 / 2°49'17"W

OS Eastings: 346897.270981

OS Northings: 512751.770698

OS Grid: NY468127

Mapcode National: GBR 8JQB.X1

Mapcode Global: WH81W.MZL0

Entry Name: Castle Crag slight univallate hillfort

Scheduled Date: 30 March 1925

Last Amended: 19 October 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007411

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22514

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Shap Rural

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Bampton St Patrick

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is Castle Crag slight univallate hillfort. It is located on the
top of Castle Crag, a projection of rock extending north-east from Birks Crag.
The ground falls precipitously from the north-west, north-east and south-east
sides of the crag. The hillfort includes an oval-shaped internal enclosure
measuring approximately 46m by 22m that is protected on its south-west side by
a rampart of stones up to 2m wide and 1m high. The precipitous slopes on the
other sides preclude the need for ramparts there. There is an entrance at the
south-west corner of the enclosure leading up a narrow ledge of rock. Within
the enclosure are three artificially levelled areas - two circular areas
measuring c.3m diameter, and an irregularly-shaped area measuring a maximum of
6.5m by 4.6m. Outside the stone rampart is a rock-cut ditch 4m wide and up to
3m deep and beyond this a second rock-cut ditch 10m wide and 2-3m deep.
Between the ditches a rocky knoll has been used as an outer enclosure and
contains further artificially levelled areas. Towards the south-eastern end of
the outer enclosure is a cutting in the rock forming an entrance 2.5m wide.
Outside the outer ditch is a rectangular artificially levelled area measuring
c.19m by 15m which enhances a terrace in the adjacent hillside.
Limited archaeological excavation during the early 1920's located a parapet
rampart on the north side of the internal enclosure constructed of tightly
laid flat stones. Clay floors and charcoal were also found within this main
enclosure. Circular pits were found within the outer enclosure located to the
A drystone wall and old fence posts are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes,
generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and
defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively
small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth -
fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for between 150 and 200 years
prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have
generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places
of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a
rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access
to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple
gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation
indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate
features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few
examples. Internal features include square or rectangular buildings supported
by four to six postholes and interpreted as raised granaries, timber or stone
round houses, large storage pits and hearths as well as scattered postholes,
stakeholes and gullies. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150
examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low,
in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In other areas
where the distribution is relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the
Cotswolds and the Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different
classes occur within the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern
England, the Welsh Marches, central and southern England. In view of the
rarity of slight univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding
the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which
survive comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further
archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Castle Crag slight univallate hillfort survives well. Limited archaeological
excavation revealed the existence of living floors within the main enclosure
and use of the outer enclosure. It will retain further evidence for the
settlement at this site and for the construction methods employed in the
monument's defences.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Proceedings, , Vol. XXIII, (1923), 285-6
Raymond,F., MPP Single Mon Class Description - Slight Univallate Hillforts, (1988)
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)

Source: Historic England

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