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Large univallate hillfort and 14th century chapel at St Ann's Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Chertsey St Ann's, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.3981 / 51°23'53"N

Longitude: -0.5259 / 0°31'33"W

OS Eastings: 502642.281079

OS Northings: 167593.695001

OS Grid: TQ026675

Mapcode National: GBR GBZ.CTR

Mapcode Global: VHFTW.T4T1

Entry Name: Large univallate hillfort and 14th century chapel at St Ann's Hill

Scheduled Date: 20 December 1934

Last Amended: 17 March 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016204

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20197

County: Surrey

Electoral Ward/Division: Chertsey St Ann's

Built-Up Area: Chertsey

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Chertsey

Church of England Diocese: Guildford


The monument includes those parts of a large univallate hillfort of Iron Age
date not removed by post-medieval quarrying, and a later 14th century chapel,
situated on the crest of a hill in an area of sands and gravels with extensive
views of the surrounding landscape. Roughly oval and aligned on a north west
to south east axis, the hillfort has an enclosed area of approximately 5ha
defined for the most part by a single line of defences comprising a main bank
and external ditch with an outer counterscarp bank. The rampart is best
preserved on the west side where the inner bank survives to a height of 1m and
is 14m wide. The ditch has become partly infilled over the years but is
visible as an earthwork feature 7m wide and up to 0.7m deep. The counterscarp
bank beyond this survives up to 0.5m high and 10m wide. To the north the steep
slope has been scarped to form an additional defence while to the east there
is a second ditch and counterscarp bank beyond the main defences. The outer
ditch is visible here as a terrace in the hill slope c.7m wide.

Situated within the north eastern part of the hillfort is the 14th century
Chapel of St Ann from which the hill takes its name. This survives mainly as
low earthworks and buried foundations although one wall remains standing to a
height of 1.3m. The chapel may once have been associated with nearby Chertsey

The hillfort was partly excavated in 1990 when trenches were dug to
investigate the ramparts on the north west of the enclosure and an area in the
south east of the interior. The ramparts showed two phases of construction:
the original material dug from the ditch formed a dumped internal bank, with a
later recut of the ditch used to heighten the bank. Excavations of the
interior showed evidence of the intensive settlement with remains of houses
surviving in the form of postholes, pits, beam slots and ditches. Sherds of
Early and Middle Iron Age pottery provide further evidence for occupation.
Excluded from the scheduling are the reservoir, Reservoir Cottage and its
garage, the two shelters, concrete steps, viewing platform and all fences and
fence posts but the ground beneath all these features, except the reservoir,
is included in the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying
shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and
surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions.
They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used
between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for
earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the
ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on
such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with
display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of
redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen.
The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of
slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may
survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and
between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or
two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned
ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the
passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by
outworks. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large
storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and
square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often
represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Large
univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded
nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the
chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is
marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further
examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north.
Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in
their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual
components. In view of the rarity of large univallate hillforts and their
importance in understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron
Age society, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed
to be of national importance.

Despite some disturbance caused by gravel extraction to the south of the site
and the construction of a reservoir in the centre, the large univallate
hillfort at St Ann's Hill survives comparatively well. Part excavation of the
site has demonstrated it to be rich in archaeological remains as well as being
relatively unusual in the intensity of settlement evidence which survives.

In the 14th century the Chapel of St Ann, from which the hill takes its name,
was constructed on the site. This is believed to have been associated with the
nearby abbey at Chertsey and so has an important place in understanding the
ecclesiastical history of the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The book of Chertsey through fourteen centuries, (1929)
Ogilvy, J S, A Pilgrimage in Surrey, (1914)
RCHM(E), , St Ann's Hill Chertsey
Jones P, Interim report on archaeological work at St Ann's Hill Chertsey, 1990,
Lansdowne M, (1992)

Source: Historic England

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