Ancient Monuments

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Knollbury camp hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Chadlington, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9047 / 51°54'17"N

Longitude: -1.5415 / 1°32'29"W

OS Eastings: 431638.223297

OS Northings: 223009.425802

OS Grid: SP316230

Mapcode National: GBR 6T5.F32

Mapcode Global: VHBZG.7DF5

Entry Name: Knollbury camp hillfort

Scheduled Date: 23 March 1949

Last Amended: 19 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015322

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28145

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Chadlington

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Chadlington

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes the remains of Knollbury camp, a roughly rectangular
univallate hillfort, aligned north west-south east and situated 800m north
west of Upper Court Farm, Chadlington. The hillfort occupies gently sloping
ground just above the spring line. There are three known springs within
300m of the monument.
The defences consist of a single steep sided rampart built of piled earth and
oolite stone rubble behind a dry stone revetment of larger limestone slabs.
This wall is visible through the turf in several sections along the north east
side of the enclosure. The rampart measures around 10m wide and stands between
1.5m and 4m high. The area enclosed by the rampart measures roughly 150m from
north west-south east and 100m from north east-south west.
There are no entrances through the rampart on either the north east, north
west or south west sides but there is believed to be an original entrance in
the centre of the south east (downhill) facing side. This has been obscured by
later gaps cut through this side to allow access to the interior from the
south and east. The central entrance has also been widened in a later period
to create a broader level access to the field inside the hillfort. Cultivation
has also levelled the interior of the hillfort.
Surrounding the rampart, but no longer visible at ground level, is a defensive
quarry ditch which has become infilled over time as a result of cultivation.
However, this will survive buried below the modern ground level and, like the
rampart, measures about 10m across.
The boundary wall and the surface of the road which run along the south west
side of the hillfort are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath
both of these features 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 the interior and part of the rampart on the south east side having
been reduced by cultivation, Knollbury camp survives as a good example of its
class. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to
its construction and the landscape in which it was built.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
A History of the County of Oxfordshire, (1907), 317
PRN 1548, C.A.O., Rectangular Enclosure - Hillfort, (1984)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series
Source Date: 1980
SP 32 SW
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10560 Series
Source Date: 1923
SP 32 SW

Source: Historic England

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