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Liddington Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Chiseldon, Swindon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5158 / 51°30'56"N

Longitude: -1.7004 / 1°42'1"W

OS Eastings: 420886.162411

OS Northings: 179693.319839

OS Grid: SU208796

Mapcode National: GBR 4VY.WFP

Mapcode Global: VHC19.G5YB

Entry Name: Liddington Castle

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1925

Last Amended: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016312

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28964

County: Swindon

Civil Parish: Chiseldon

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Lyddington and Wanborough

Church of England Diocese: Bristol

Details

The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort known as Liddington Castle.
The hillfort, which is one of several located on or near the Ridgeway,
occupies a flat plateau on the northern scarp of the Wiltshire chalklands on
the summit of Liddington Hill from which there are extensive views north and
west across the Thames valley and south across the Marlborough Downs.

The hillfort is oval in plan and consists of a bank, ditch and counterscarp
bank following the natural contours of the hill and enclosing an internal area
of approximately 3ha. There is one original entrance located on the eastern
side.

The inner bank measures approximately 12m across and is up to 3m above the
interior ground level. The surrounding ditch is up to 18m wide. The
counterscarp bank stands up to 6m high above the ditch and is most prominent
on the northern and western facing slopes.

Flint digging between 1896 and 1900 in the north east part of the hillfort
revealed numerous early Iron Age finds including a bronze awl and ear-ring,
spindle whorls and fragments of pottery.

A small scale excavation in 1976 found that the rampart was constructed in at
least four phases, the latest being a re-fortification during the Saxon
period.

Also included in the scheduling is a pillow mound located on the south eastern
side of the monument adjacent to the counterscarp bank. It is aligned north
east to south west and is 21m long, 8m wide and up to 0.5m high. The south
eastern side of the mound has been levelled by cultivation and is not included
in the scheduling.

The buried reservoir which lies to the north east of the pillow mound on the
eastern side of the hillfort is not included in the scheduling. All water
troughs and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground
beneath these features is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes,
generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and
defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively
small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth -
fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to
their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have
generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places
of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a
rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access
to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple
gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation
indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate
features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few
examples. 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. Slight
univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally.
Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of
the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is
relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the
Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within
the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh
Marches, central and southern England. In view of the rarity of slight
univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition
between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive
comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further
archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Liddington Castle hillfort survives well and is known from part excavation to
contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its
construction, the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they
lived. In addition, it is one of a group of hillforts associated with the
ancient Ridgeway trackway.

Source: Historic England

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