Ancient Monuments

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Slight univallate hillfort on Castle Crag

A Scheduled Monument in Borrowdale, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5331 / 54°31'59"N

Longitude: -3.1612 / 3°9'40"W

OS Eastings: 324958.312435

OS Northings: 515936.553216

OS Grid: NY249159

Mapcode National: GBR 6JC0.DS

Mapcode Global: WH70L.DBX5

Entry Name: Slight univallate hillfort on Castle Crag

Scheduled Date: 25 February 1963

Last Amended: 30 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012940

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23680

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Borrowdale

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Borrowdale St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Castle Crag, a small slight univallate hillfort located
on the relatively flat summit of Castle Crag in Borrowdale, close to the foot
of Honister Pass. The ground falls precipitously on the north, west and east
sides of the monument and steeply on the south side. It includes an
irregularly-shaped internal enclosure measuring approximately 60m by 25m
internally that is protected on its north and north east sides by a
turf-covered stone rampart up to 4m wide and 0.7m high running along the edge
of the precipice. The present irregular shape is a product of past slate
quarrying which has removed the monument's south western corner. There are
three artificially levelled areas within the enclosure; two are situated
immediately south of a rocky summit knoll and measure c.11m by 10m and 6.5m by
5.5m. The third is situated in the eastern part of the enclosure and measures
approximately 15m by 12m.
A combination of quarrying and limited antiquarian investigation have found
various items including two masses of smelted iron, Roman pottery and red

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 150 to 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 included timber or stone round houses; large
storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and
square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often
represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. 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.

Despite a combination of quarrying and limited antiquarian investigation,
Castle Crag slight univallate hillfort survives reasonably well. This
investigation found pottery, metal artefacts and evidence of metalworking. The
monument will retain further evidence of the activities undertaken here and
the construction methods employed in its defence.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Collingwood, W G, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Cumberland, , Vol. XXIII, (1923), 252
Collingwood, R G, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Castle How, Peel Wyke, , Vol. XXIV, (1924), 83
Raymond,F., MPP Single Mon Class Description - Slight Univallate Hillforts, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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