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Ringwork 750m west of Grove Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Much Dewchurch, Herefordshire,

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.9773 / 51°58'38"N

Longitude: -2.7503 / 2°45'1"W

OS Eastings: 348557.905481

OS Northings: 231249.131086

OS Grid: SO485312

Mapcode National: GBR FJ.KQD4

Mapcode Global: VH861.8KVK

Entry Name: Ringwork 750m west of Grove Farm

Scheduled Date: 1 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014893

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27541

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Much Dewchurch

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Much Dewchurch

Church of England Diocese: Hereford

Details

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a ringwork, situated
in the valley of the Worm Brook, some 750m west of Grove Farm. The monument
occupies a slight rise in the ground and includes an earthen bank which
encloses a roughly oval area, measuring c.50m north west-south east by c.38m
transversely, including the bank itself. Material for the construction of the
bank will have been quarried from the surrounding ditch, which averages 8m
wide, and survives up to 2m deep in the north west and south east quarters.
Elsewhere the ditch has become infilled, however it appears on aerial
photographs as a continuous feature and will survive below ground in these
areas. At its highest point the bank rises 4.5m above the bottom of the ditch.
It will originally have been surmounted by a palisade to further enhance the
visual impact and defensive capabilities of the ringwork.
The area enclosed by the bank has been raised slightly above the level of the
surrounding area, and the remains of the structures which originally occupied
this space are visible as earthworks in the interior. Access to the ringwork
was by means of a causeway across the ditch in the north eastern quarter,
where a break in the bank is flanked by low mounds. A possible second entrance
is indicated on the opposite side, where a similar break in the bank with
slight mounding to either side can be seen. The remains of an external, or
counterscarp bank, roughly 2m wide, survive in the north west quarter to a
height of 0.6m. Its survival in this area is the result of its incorporation
into a post-medieval field boundary: elsewhere the bank has been degraded by
ploughing and is no longer visible.
The ringwork is one of a concentration of medieval defensive sites in the
area, one of its closest neighbours being the motte castle at Thruxton, some
6km to the north west, the subject of a separate scheduling (SM27492).
All fences across the ringwork are excluded from the scheduling, but the
ground beneath them 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

Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late
Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended
area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a
substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a
stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the
bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military
operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements.
They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60
with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted
range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular
significance to our understanding of the period.

The ringwork 750m west of Grove Farm is a well preserved example of this class
of monument, with an original entrance surviving. Evidence for the medieval
structures enclosed within the bank, and for the activities which took place
there, will be preserved in the interior. Material which has accumulated in
the ditch will preserve environmental evidence for activity at and around the
ringwork. These contexts will allow the function of the site to be more fully
understood. Evidence for structures such as a bridge will also be preserved by
the ditch fills, and the ringwork and counterscarps banks will retain evidence
for their method of construction, and for the timber or stone enhancements
which surmounted them. The ground surface sealed beneath the banks will
preserve evidence for land use immediately prior to the construction of the
monument.
The ringwork forms part of the wider picture of the medieval defences of
Herefordshire, and when viewed in association with other defensive monuments
in the area it contributes to our understanding of the social and political
organisation of the county in the medieval period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , Herefordshire, south west, (1931), 52
Other
AF9/1-2, Hereford Record Office - County Archives, Much Dewchurch,
sketch plan & section, text, DRB, HWCM 00398, (1971)

Source: Historic England

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