Ancient Monuments

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Castle Hill earthwork

A Scheduled Monument in Brighstone, Isle of Wight

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Latitude: 50.655 / 50°39'17"N

Longitude: -1.423 / 1°25'22"W

OS Eastings: 440882.403805

OS Northings: 84081.167275

OS Grid: SZ408840

Mapcode National: GBR 79F.T6V

Mapcode Global: FRA 77XB.TNN

Entry Name: Castle Hill earthwork

Scheduled Date: 14 July 1933

Last Amended: 12 September 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013290

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22063

County: Isle of Wight

Civil Parish: Brighstone

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Isle of Wight

Church of England Parish: Mottistone St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth


The monument includes Castle Hill earthwork which has been interpreted as a
Bronze Age or more likely Iron Age defended settlement. It lies on a hilltop
on the south western part of the Isle of Wight with extensive views over the
coastal plain and sea to the south, and the downs to the north.
The earthwork is roughly square and aligned slightly north west to south east.
It has an internal area c.55m long and c.58m wide enclosed by a bank c.5m wide
and c.0.3m high. Beyond this is a ditch c.5.75m wide and 0.5m deep and an
outer bank c.10m wide and c.0.5m high.
The monument does not appear to survive beyond the field boundary on its east
side. The post and wire fence which forms the eastern boundary is excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were
constructed and occupied in south-western England. At the top of the
settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition
to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also
constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent
positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an
enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen
construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate
sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second
phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where
excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the
enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied
by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group.
Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element
of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south-western
England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified
settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are likely to be
identified as nationally important.

The earthwork known as `Castle Hill' survives well and is the only site of
this type known on the Isle of Wight.

Source: Historic England

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