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Bradley promontory fort above Beechbrook 50m south of Beechmill House

A Scheduled Monument in Frodsham, Cheshire West and Chester

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.2861 / 53°17'10"N

Longitude: -2.6923 / 2°41'32"W

OS Eastings: 353945.055983

OS Northings: 376795.535134

OS Grid: SJ539767

Mapcode National: GBR 9ZMF.XQ

Mapcode Global: WH87Y.MN5N

Entry Name: Bradley promontory fort above Beechbrook 50m south of Beechmill House

Scheduled Date: 23 October 1973

Last Amended: 3 August 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013296

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25693

County: Cheshire West and Chester

Civil Parish: Frodsham

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Kingsley St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Chester

Details

The monument includes a univallate (single rampart) promontory fort
overlooking the valley of the River Weaver at Bradley. The fort is situated on
the edge of the sandstone ridge which bisects the county from Frodsham on the
north side to the Welsh border near Wrexham.
The fort is on a spur on the steep south bank of the brook which flows into
the Weaver. Unusually it is situated below the high ground to the east. The
fields slope down to the fort on the south side and there is a single ditch
and bank constructed in a semicircle to defend the spur. The defences on the
north east and north west are formed by the very steep sides of the spur
overlooking the valley.
The outer ditch and rampart are very degraded, the result of ploughing in the
past, and the distance between the front of the ditch and rear of the rampart
is 80m. There is no indication of an entrance, but a gully in the side of the
hollow way on the north west side may be the way into the interior. On the
east side of the defences and in the next field the hedge boundary appears to
incorporate the original bank and ditch.
This is one of a small group of promontory forts in Cheshire and is the
smallest of them. The interior is 0.61ha in extent.
The surface of the lane on the west side is excluded from the scheduling where
it clips the monument at the north west corner, although the ground beneath is
included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally
defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more
earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it
from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by
steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings
defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches
formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected
along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an
entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively
for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone-
walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings
used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally
Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth
century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with
other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status,
probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest
that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display
as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded
examples. In view of their rarity and their importance in the understanding of
the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are considered nationally
important.

Despite having been ploughed, the promontory fort at Bradley survives
reasonably well and will retain significant information on the form and
construction of the rampart as well as the manner in which the interior was
used. It is one of a small group of promontory forts in Cheshire.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Longley, D, Prehistoric Sites in Cheshire, (1979), 48

Source: Historic England

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