Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Enclosure on Horton Down

A Scheduled Monument in Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3937 / 51°23'37"N

Longitude: -1.8898 / 1°53'23"W

OS Eastings: 407766.366556

OS Northings: 166075.213533

OS Grid: SU077660

Mapcode National: GBR 3VX.H23

Mapcode Global: VHB4B.67BG

Entry Name: Enclosure on Horton Down

Scheduled Date: 10 November 1964

Last Amended: 15 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014555

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21813

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Bishops Cannings

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Bishop's Cannings and Etchilhampton St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a rectangular earthwork enclosure situated in the middle
of Horton Down.
The enclosure measures c.144m east-west and c.103m north-south. It is
surrounded by a bank which measures 4m wide and stands 0.7m high. Beyond this
lies a 3m wide ditch which, although partly infilled, is open to a depth of
0.4m. A 3m wide break in the bank and ditch, located in the middle of the
south side, is believed to be original. Other gaps in the north and east sides
are known to be modern.
It is known from earlier records that the banks originally stood 1.2m or more
in height while the ditch was at least 1m deep.
Excluded from the scheduling is the post and wire fence which surrounds the
monument, although the land beneath is included.

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

Earthen enclosures provide evidence of land use and agricultural practices in
the prehistoric and Romano-British period, although later examples are also
known. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop
growing and were sometimes subdivided to provide temporary accommodation for
stock, farmers or herdsmen. The size and form of enclosures may vary
considerably depending on their particular function.
Their variation in form, longevity and their relationship to other monument
classes, including extensive field systems, provide information on the
diversity and social organisation and farming practices through the period of
their use.
Twelve examples are recorded in the Avebury area, which acted as a focus for
ceremonial and ritual activity during at least the Neolithic and Early Bronze
Age periods. Later the area was settled mostly by agricultural communities,
with the area intensively farmed through to the medieval period and beyond.
The enclosures in the Avebury area are central to understanding the character
of this development. All surviving examples are considered worthy of

Despite the interior having been cultivated, the enclosure on Horton Down
survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence
relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1.1, (1957), 262
Crawford, O G S and Keiller, A, Wessex from the Air, (1928)
SU 06 NE 28, R.C.H.M.(E), Rectangular earthwork on Horton Down, (1973)
SU 06 NE 42, R.C.H.M.(E), Rectangular earthwork on Morgans Hill, (1973)
SU06NE 790, C.A.O., Rectangular earthwork enclosing 3 acres, (1979)

Source: Historic England

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