Ancient Monuments

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Promontory fort east of Peckforton Mere

A Scheduled Monument in Peckforton, Cheshire East

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Latitude: 53.1144 / 53°6'51"N

Longitude: -2.6843 / 2°41'3"W

OS Eastings: 354296.122035

OS Northings: 357685.202407

OS Grid: SJ542576

Mapcode National: GBR 7L.7VW9

Mapcode Global: WH88Q.QZZB

Entry Name: Promontory fort east of Peckforton Mere

Scheduled Date: 11 September 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013481

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25703

County: Cheshire East

Civil Parish: Peckforton

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Bunbury St Boniface

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument includes a promontory fort on the east side of Peckforton Mere.
The mere used to be much larger during the prehistoric period and this
promontory would have jutted out into it. The River Gowy originally flowed out
of the mere on the north side and this formed the northern defence of the
fort. The present stream course lies further north than the original river and
has been diverted by recent drainage operations.
The fort has a bank and external ditch cutting off a piece of high ground
which used to be a promontory and curving around it on the north and south
sides, leaving the west side open to be defended in antiquity by the mere and
the old course of the Gowy.
The original bank and ditch are only partially visible as upstanding
earthworks. They have been much reduced by ploughing and in places the line of
the infilled ditch is only visible on aerial photographs. Where it does
survive as an earthwork the bank is 16m wide and only 0.3m high. The ditch is
13m wide and 0.5m deep at its centre. Around 180m of the bank and ditch
survives as upstanding earthworks; the remaining 280m length of defences is
only visible on aerial photographs. The area thus enclosed is about 0.35ha in

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

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

This fort survives reasonably well in spite of the ploughing which has reduced
some of its defences. It is small compared to a very similar site at Oakmere
in Cheshire. The enclosed area is enough to support a collection of buildings
for a single family settlement rather than a larger farming village. The ditch
and the interior will contain important remains and will provide information
on the domestic economy and farming practices of its inhabitants.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Longley, D, The Victoria History of the County, (1976), 109
RAF, CPE/UK/1935, (1947)

Source: Historic England

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