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Multivallate hillfort at Bury Bank

A Scheduled Monument in Stone Rural, Staffordshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.9206 / 52°55'14"N

Longitude: -2.1766 / 2°10'35"W

OS Eastings: 388222.258799

OS Northings: 335927.325642

OS Grid: SJ882359

Mapcode National: GBR 159.VY1

Mapcode Global: WHBD6.JVRB

Entry Name: Multivallate hillfort at Bury Bank

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 15 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008548

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21566

County: Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Stone Rural

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Tittensor St Luke

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

Details

The monument occupies the upper slopes of a small hog-backed hill,
approximately 50m west of Bury Bank Farm and includes an Iron Age multivallate
hillfort and two barrows.
The hillfort's size and shape are determined by the form of the hill which has
a domed summit falling away sharply on the north west, south east and west
sides. The defensive earthworks include traces of an inner rampart and ditch,
beyond which, are intermittent traces of a second rampart. The inner rampart
is visible as a slight earthwork, no more than 0.7m above the interior of the
hillfort, although traces of a shallow internal quarry ditch suggest that it
was originally higher. The quarry ditch has become infilled over the years,
but survives as a buried feature. The outer face of the inner rampart appears
greater in height due to the profile of the ditch above which it sits. In the
north west part of the site the inner rampart is only 0.3m high, but
externally it falls approximately 2m onto the natural hillside. An excavation
across the inner rampart in 1892 indicated that the earthwork is built of
earth and rubble stone. The ditch itself, is, in effect, a massive terracing
and steepening of the natural hillside. The outer rampart has been formed by
the spoil removed from the ditch and was originally built up above the level
of the ditch, but its crest has been largely degraded. It measures
approximately 20m across its base. In the south west part of the site the
outer rampart has been partly modified by a modern access track and some of
its length has been damaged by quarrying.
Access into the interior of the hillfort is by means of an inturned, or
funnel, entrance at the northern end of the western defences. The interior has
an elongated plan and includes an area of approximately 2.2ha. Although no
internal earthworks associated with the hillfort's occupation are visible,
the buried remains of internal structures will survive beneath the ground
surface. Two barrows are visible within the southern part of the hillfort's
interior. The southernmost barrow stands to a height of 2.2m and has a
diameter of up to 25m. Although no longer visible at ground level, a ditch,
from which material was quarried during the construction of the barrow,
surrounds the mound. The ditch has become infilled over the years but survives
as a buried feature, approximately 3m wide. Partial excavation of the barrow
has recovered charcoal and bone fragments. Immediately to the north west of
this mound is a second barrow, the mound of which, is 0.5m high and has a
diameter of 17m. The barrow was investigated during the 19th century.
All fence posts and the telegraph poles and support cables are excluded from
the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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

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. Evidence from outside numerous examples of
small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a
similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples
recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west
with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. 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.

The hillfort at Bury Bank survives well and represents a good example of this
class of monument. Buried features and artefactual evidence associated with
the occupation and development of the hillfort will survive within the site's
defensive ramparts and interior. These internal features and the defensive
ditch will retain environmental evidence relating to the economy of the site's
inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived. Despite partial excavation,
the two barrows survive well and will retain information for the character and
duration of their use, and for the environment in which they were created.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Garner, R, Natural History of Staffordshire, (1860), 5
Lynam, C, The Victoria History of the County of Staffordshire, (1908)
Plot, R, The Natural History of Staffordshire, (1686)
RCHME, , Bury Bank, (1992)
Toulmin-Smith, L, The Itinerary of John Leland, 1535-43, (1908)
Other
Meeson, R A,
RCHME, Bury Bank SJ83NE1, (1992)

Source: Historic England

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