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Oliver Cromwell's Battery: Iron Age enclosure reused as a Civil War battery

A Scheduled Monument in Olivers Battery, Hampshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.0483 / 51°2'53"N

Longitude: -1.3466 / 1°20'47"W

OS Eastings: 445896.351298

OS Northings: 127864.228867

OS Grid: SU458278

Mapcode National: GBR 866.8C1

Mapcode Global: FRA 862B.TFP

Entry Name: Oliver Cromwell's Battery: Iron Age enclosure reused as a Civil War battery

Scheduled Date: 14 July 1933

Last Amended: 10 August 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008724

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24330

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Olivers Battery

Built-Up Area: Winchester

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Winchester St Luke, Stanmore

Church of England Diocese: Winchester

Details

The monument includes an Iron Age enclosure later reused as a Civil War
battery, situated on the crest of a ridge c.2.5km south west of Winchester.
The sub-rectangular earthwork has maximum internal dimensions of 75m (north to
south) by 66m. A bank extends around the western, northern and eastern sides
of the earthwork, but is poorly preserved or absent along its southern side.
At the north and north east, the bank rises up to 1m above the level of the
interior and is flanked by an external ditch, up to 8m wide and cut to between
0.7m and 1.5m below the top of the bank. The eastern side of the earthwork is
marked by the bank only, which rises up to 1.2m above the level of the
adjacent road and between 0.2m and 0.4m above the interior. The south side
consists of an intermittent, undulating bank, not more than 0.65m above the
external ground level and with an internal fall of no more than 0.15m. There
are no visible features in the interior. A bank and ditch which formerly
extended south eastwards from the south west corner of the site have been
destroyed by modern building.
Excavation of the bank and ditch occurred in the 1930s. The evidence from this
excavation has been interpreted as suggesting that the earthwork was
constructed in the Iron Age but that it did not remain long in use. The
earthwork is thought to have had two opposed entrances at the east and west
sides, although these are not now visible. The interior of the site was not
examined.
Artefacts of earlier and Iron Age activity were also found during the
excavation, including a Neolithic axe from the chalk making up the bank, and
Iron Age pottery from soil buried beneath the bank. However, with the
exception of a large spread of charcoal associated with the pottery, no
features were recognised.
A single Anglo-Saxon inhumation burial was also found during the excavation,
the grave cut into the bank at the north east corner of the site. Grave goods,
including a silver-pommelled scramasax (a single edged sword or dagger), an
iron spearhead and a bronze hanging bowl, were found accompanying the burial.
Reuse of the earthwork is thought to have occurred during the Civil War.
Cromwell is known to have had two batteries outside Winchester during the
siege of the city in 1645, one to the north and one to the west, and it has
been suggested that this was the site of the western battery. Finds of
17th century date were found during the 1930s excavations, but no structural
evidence was recovered. The site was also used to quarter allied troops during
the Napoleonic and First World Wars.
Excluded from the monument are the logs, which make up a childrens play area,
wooden benches and seats and the concrete bases of the latter, telegraph poles
and sign-posts, but the ground beneath them 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

Civil War batteries are one of several types of fieldwork raised during
military operations between 1642 and 1645. The fieldworks consisted of banks
and ditches, which may have been reinforced with revetting and palisades, of
varying complexity. Civil War fieldworks are recorded widely throughout
England, with concentrations in the main areas of campaigning. The
circumstances and cost of their construction may be referred to in
contemporary historical documents. Batteries with an offensive function, as
this one had, were designed to dominate defensive positions and to contain the
besieged areas.
The site of the Iron Age enclosure and later Civil War battery at Oliver
Cromwell's Battery is well-preserved despite surrounding modern development.
Partial excavation has confirmed that the site contains archaeological
deposits relating to the construction and use of the enclosure, to human
activity pre-dating its construction and to the subsequent history of the
site.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Andrew, W J, 'Proc Hants Field Club' in Report on the first excavations at Oliver's Battery, in 1930, , Vol. 12, (1934), 5-9
Other
Andrew, W J, Report on the first excavations at Oliver's Battery, in 1931, 1934,
Andrew, W J, Report on the first excavations at Oliver's Battery, in 1931, 1934,
Ordnance Survey , SU 42NE 25, (1961)

Source: Historic England

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