Ancient Monuments

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Group of small enclosures on Horton Down, 910m north east of Easton Down long barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3982 / 51°23'53"N

Longitude: -1.8984 / 1°53'54"W

OS Eastings: 407161.874328

OS Northings: 166575.481072

OS Grid: SU071665

Mapcode National: GBR 3VX.6VT

Mapcode Global: VHB4B.13QZ

Entry Name: Group of small enclosures on Horton Down, 910m north east of Easton Down long barrow

Scheduled Date: 4 January 1963

Last Amended: 21 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014561

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28117

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 group of four small enclosures situated 910m north
east of Easton Down long barrow on Horton Down. The enclosures lie on the
east side of a ridge which runs north-south.
The group, which is visible on aerial photographs, includes an oval banked
enclosure, to the south and east of which lie two roughly equal sized
rectangular enclosures. All three appear originally to have been located
within a larger enclosure, only the north east corner of which is believed to
have survived.
The outer enclosure consists of a levelled bank c.3m wide and a 3m wide
external ditch. This ditch has become infilled over the years as a result
of cultivation but survives as a buried feature. A 70m length of the north
side and 50m of the east side can clearly be plotted from aerial photographs
while the remainder is no longer visible.
The oval enclosure bank is visible as a slight rise 0.1m high. It measures 2m
wide and originally stood at least 1m high. It is surrounded by a 3m wide
ditch which has become infilled over the years and survives buried below the
modern ground level. Its slight counter-scarp bank, 1m wide and up to 0.6m
high, is no longer visible at ground level. The area enclosed measures roughly
40m from east-west and 25m from north-south.
Immediately to the south and east are two roughly rectangular enclosures, both
of which have been levelled by cultivation. Originally their banks were c.2m
wide and stood up to 1m high. Surrounding the banks but now infilled, are 3m
wide ditches. Both enclosures enclose areas of c.40m from north-south and 30m
from east-west. The enclosure to the east has a 3m wide opening in the centre
of its east side.
These enclosures represent either stock enclosures or a small settlement
forming part of the former agricultural economy of the Downs.
Excluded from the scheduling are the fences running along the edge of the
gallops and forming the boundary to the south, although the ground beneath is

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 having been levelled by cultivation, the group of enclosures on Horton
Down are known from aerial photographs to survive buried below the present
ground level. They will contain archaeological and environmental evidence
relating to their construction and the landscape in which they were built.
In addition, the survival of internal enclosures within a larger rectangular
enclosure makes this group unusual within the Avebury area. Many other
enclosures have had their outer earthworks preserved but the interiors have
been so heavily ploughed that it is impossible to determine whether or not
they ever contained internal features. For this reason the survival of this
group has added archaeological importance.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 262
/170-171, R.C.H.M.(E), OS/73/071, (1969)
/4 4.8.67, /38 &/465 28.3.69, R.C.H.M.(E), NMR SU 0766, (1967)
SU 06 NE 010, R.C.H.M.(E), A series of oval and rectangular enclosures, (1973)
SU06NE 779, C.A.O., Group of enclosures, (1979)
Title: Ordnance Survey 6" Series
Source Date: 1961

Source: Historic England

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