Ancient Monuments

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Ilbury Camp hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Deddington, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9718 / 51°58'18"N

Longitude: -1.3642 / 1°21'51"W

OS Eastings: 443773.519429

OS Northings: 230561.212134

OS Grid: SP437305

Mapcode National: GBR 7TY.9X7

Mapcode Global: VHCWM.9PNS

Entry Name: Ilbury Camp hillfort

Scheduled Date: 22 October 1968

Last Amended: 23 December 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015167

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28139

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Deddington

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Deddington

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a univallate hillfort known as Ilbury Camp. It is
situated on a prominent ridge aligned roughly north west-south east and
located c.1km ENE of Nether Worton. The site commands clear views of the
surrounding terrain in all directions.

The defences include a single rampart and outer ditch which enclose a
kidney-shaped area, with its narrow end to the north west. This is due to the
builders of the fort having taken advantage of the natural defences provided
by the contours which helped create a steep sided and well defended site. The
area enclosed by the defences measures 310m from north west-south east and up
to 160m from south west-north east. The western half of the earthworks survive
as upstanding earthworks while the eastern half have been reduced in height by
cultivation over the years.

The rampart is constructed of stone and turf and stands up to 4m high above
the present ground level to the north west and 3m above the interior. It
measures c.10m across and was originally continuous except for a c.8m wide gap
at the entrance at the south east corner. Two modern gaps on the southern and
western sides are not thought to be original.

The surrounding ditch served the dual function of enhancing the defences and
providing material for the construction of the rampart. It has become largely
infilled due to cultivation and deposition of soil from the banks over time.
However, aerial photographs show that it survives around the circuit of the
hillfort with one break of c.8m at the original entrance, and that it measures
c.12m wide. It is still visible as a slight depression at a number of points
around the monument, especially to the north west.

Finds of pottery from the ploughsoil on the eastern half of the monument
include both Iron Age and early Romano-British material.

Excluded from the scheduling are the boundary fences which divide it into a
number of fields, although the ground 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

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

Despite an area of ramparts having been reduced by cultivation, Ilbury Camp
survives as a good example of its class. Aerial photographs confirm that its
infilled ditch will retain buried remains and surface finds have demonstrated
that the monument will contain archaeological evidence relating to the lives
of its occupants. Ilbury Camp is unusual in this part of Oxfordshire where the
builders of most univallate hillforts did not make effective use of the
terrain in the siting of their defences.

Source: Historic England


PRN 2320 note 2, C.A.O., HILL FORT, (1994)
PRN 2320, C.A.O., HILL FORT, (1994)
SP 43 SW 11, R.C.H.M.(E), Hillfort, (1970)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series
Source Date: 1980
SP 43 SW

Source: Historic England

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