Ancient Monuments

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Ashbury Camp later prehistoric multivallate hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Week St. Mary, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.7496 / 50°44'58"N

Longitude: -4.513 / 4°30'46"W

OS Eastings: 222816.030064

OS Northings: 97452.29543

OS Grid: SX228974

Mapcode National: GBR NC.24L4

Mapcode Global: FRA 17F3.9MK

Entry Name: Ashbury Camp later prehistoric multivallate hillfort

Scheduled Date: 16 October 1975

Last Amended: 27 February 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010423

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15010

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Week St. Mary

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Mary Week

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a small, later Prehistoric hillfort, with an oblong
embanked and ditched enclosure, entrances facing NW and SE, and two outworks
to the SE crossing the line of approach.
The hillfort interior, which is featureless, comprises an area 182m WNW-ESE
by 125m NNE-SSW (2.27ha) enclosed by an earth and rubble rampart 8m wide,
rising to a maximum 3m high above the outer ground level, though soil-creep
has masked much of the rampart's inner face. The outer ditch survives to a
maximum 10m wide and 1m deep, best preserved around the NW and SE ends. Along
the N and NW sides of the enclosure is an outer rampart, surviving to a
maximum 5m wide and 1.5m high. Entrance breaks occur in the enclosure rampart
and ditch circuit at the NW end, c.5m wide, and SE end, c.10m wide. The
enclosure occupies the summit of a low hill whose approach along a spur to the
SE is crossed transversely by two outworks. The nearest to the hillfort is
centred 175m from the SE entrance along the spur slope, and comprises a single
rampart c.8m wide, rising to a maximum 1.5m high, running NE-SW in a slight
curve across the spur. The other outwork also includes a rampart on the same
axis, but centred 205m from the hillfort's SE entrance; this rampart is c.8m
wide and rises to a maximum of 3m high. A broad outer ditch is visible, c.8m
wide and 1.5m deep, extended at the SW end by a recent drainage cut. Both
outworks are cut by the modern farm-track running NW from Ashbury Farm.
The low hill crowned by the hillfort is bounded on all sides except the SE by
steep slopes dropping to upper tributaries of the River Neet flowing towards
Bude Bay 5km to the NW. It lies on Carboniferous Culm Measures, just beyond
the NW edge of a low plateau between the Rivers Ottery and Tamar, at the
junction with the more deeply dissected coastal belt.
Although the monument has not been excavated, its good preservation and
prominent position have resulted in its mention and description in antiquarian
records since the early 19th century.
All modern hedges, fences, walls and gates are excluded from the
scheduling,but the land beneath them, including hedge-banks, is included.
This monument is divided into five separate constraint areas.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Small multivallate hillforts are defended enclosures situated on hilltops and
defined by two or more lines of closely-set earthworks, usually enclosing an
area of under 5ha. They form one of a range of known types of fortified
enclosure dating to the Iron Age, constructed during the period 6th century
B.C. to the 1st century A.D., and sometimes re-occupied during the Roman
period. They present a considerable variety of enclosure shapes and rampart
forms, usually with one or two entrances. Where excavated, structures within
the enclosure have included round or rectangular houses and associated
buildings, often post or stake-built but sometimes of stone; metalled or
cobbled roads; hearths; ovens; storage pits; gullies; scatters of post and
stake holes, and, by the entrances, post-hole evidence for gate and guard
houses. Settlement evidence sometimes extends outside the area enclosed by
the earthworks. Outworks are occasionally found, usually associated with the
approach to the entrance. These monuments are regarded as high status
settlements, permanently occupied, engaged in trade and with evidence for
industrial activities such as metal-working, potting, spinning and weaving,
and agricultural processes including corn-grinding. About 100 small
multivallate hillforts are recorded nationally, commonest in the west and
south midlands, central southern and south-west England. They are important
as nationally rare monuments which contribute significantly to our knowledge
of settlement organisation, and economic and social activities during the Iron
Age. Consequently all such monuments which preserve good evidence typical of
the main known types, and their regional and topographical spread, would
normally be considered of national importance.
Ashbury Camp is a particularly well-preserved hillfort, reflecting the
unusually long application of a sympathetic traditional land-management
regime. It shows a number of features common to many south-western hillforts,
notably its small size, indeed it is at the upper end of the recorded
size-range for Cornish hillforts, its hill top location overlooking a river
system just beyond a plateau area, and its outworks crossing the main line of
approach. Its prominence and preservation have attracted antiquarian comment
since the early 19th century.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Henderson, C, Parochial Antiquities of East Cornwall, (1930)
Cornwall SMR record, with AM 107, for PRN 2051, Ashbury Camp,
MS at Royal Institution of Cornwall, Henderson, C., East Cornwall Book, (Pagination 509), (1925)
Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Index Record for SX 29 NW 6, (1974)

Source: Historic England

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