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Bronze Age enclosure, associated linear earthworks and field system, and a later dewpond on Tenants Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Long Bredy, Dorset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6918 / 50°41'30"N

Longitude: -2.6 / 2°36'0"W

OS Eastings: 357713.591285

OS Northings: 88186.764994

OS Grid: SY577881

Mapcode National: GBR PT.55VH

Mapcode Global: FRA 57F7.YQK

Entry Name: Bronze Age enclosure, associated linear earthworks and field system, and a later dewpond on Tenants Hill

Scheduled Date: 13 February 1957

Last Amended: 11 April 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013370

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22946

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Long Bredy

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Long Bredy St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes an enclosure, interpreted as being of Bronze Age date,
associated linear earthworks and field system and a later, medieval, dewpond
situated on the South Dorset Downs on a north facing chalk ridge overlooking
the Bride Valley. The dewpond is situated to the south of the enclosure and
the field system to the west.
The enclosure, which occupies the upper north facing slope of Tenants Hill,
has a gently sloping interior with maximum dimensions of 38m from north to
south and 37m from east to west. It is defined by a bank constructed of earth,
chalk and flint which has maximum dimensions of 8m in width, c.0.6m internal
height and c.1.5m external height. The enclosure is surrounded by a ditch from
which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. This
survives as an earthwork on the southern, south eastern, western and north
western sides of the enclosure, with average dimensions of 3.5m in width and
c.0.5m in depth. On the north eastern side, the ditch has become infilled but
will survive as a buried feature. The bank and ditch are broken only by an
entrance 4.8m wide on the eastern side.
Also on the eastern side of the enclosure is a short stretch of curvilinear
bank with maximum dimensions of 15m long, 3m wide and c.0.3m high. The bank
runs parallel with the entrance of the enclosure and is attached to the ditch
on the south eastern side. This together with the position of a slight
causeway across the adjacent area of ditch, directs access into the enclosure
from the north.
To the east of the curvilinear bank is a longer linear bank 60m in length,
c.0.5m high and 5m wide. At the northern end the bank runs parallel with the
adjacent curvilinear earthwork, the two banks producing what appears as a
channel 5m wide and 12m long. Beyond this, the bank changes in orientation to
run to NNE-SSW. At its southern end this eastern bank abuts a dewpond. This
is a circular feature defined by an outer bank 2.5m wide and c.0.5m high,
enclosing a sunken internal area 10m in diameter and c.1m deep. There is an
entrance 1.5m wide on the southern side which leads into the interior.
On the south western side of the enclosure is an area of field system which
occupies the upper part of the north facing slope. The field system is visible
as three lynchets or terraces in the hillside. These are between 30m and 100m
long and c.0.5m-1.2m high. The field system is known from survey to have
included traces of several different phases of activity. It is likely to have
first been used in conjunction with the enclosure and then developed over an
extended period, probably during the Iron Age, Romano-British and medieval
periods.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and gates relating to the
modern field boundaries, although the underlying ground 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

Hilltop enclosures are defined as sub-rectangular or elongated areas of
ground, usually between 10ha and 40ha in size, situated on hilltops or
plateaux and surrounded by slight univallate earthworks. They date to between
the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth-fifth centuries BC) and are usually
interpreted as stock enclosures or sites where agricultural produce was
stored. Many examples of hilltop enclosures may have developed into more
strongly defended sites later in the Iron Age period and are therefore often
difficult to recognise in their original form. The earthworks generally
consist of a bank separated from an external ditch by a level berm. Access to
the interior was generally provided by two or three entrances which consisted
of simple gaps in the rampart. Evidence for internal features is largely
dependent on excavation, and to date this has included large areas of sparsely
scattered features including post and stakeholes, hearths and pits.
Rectangular or square buildings are also evident; these are generally defined
by between four and six postholes and are thought to have supported raised
granaries. Hilltop enclosures are rare, with between 25 and 30 examples
recorded nationally. A greater number may exist but these could have been
developed into hillforts later in the Iron Age and could only be confirmed by
detailed survey or excavation. The majority of known examples are located in
two regions, on the chalk downland of Wessex and Sussex and in the Cotswolds.
More scattered examples are found in north-east Oxfordshire and north
Northamptonshire. This class of monument has not been recorded outside
England. In view of the rarity of hilltop enclosures and their importance in
understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of
national importance.

The Bronze Age enclosure, associated linear earthworks and field system on
Tenants Hill survive well as upstanding earthworks and associated buried
remains. The enclosure represents one of only three such sites recorded in
Dorset and is one of few examples recorded nationally to have associated
earthwork remains. Although relatively common nationally, with large numbers
recorded in southern counties, the dewpond is a well preserved example of its
class.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 126
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 126
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Dorset: Volume 1 , (1952), 126
Other
Depiction on Ordnance Survey Map,
Depiction,
Mention date of enclosure,
Mention interpretation as a hutcircle,
Title:
Source Date:
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
Ordnance Survey depiction

Source: Historic England

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