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Lewesdon hillfort, 525m north east of Brimbley Coombe Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Stoke Abbott, Dorset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8082 / 50°48'29"N

Longitude: -2.8007 / 2°48'2"W

OS Eastings: 343677.742602

OS Northings: 101262.96862

OS Grid: ST436012

Mapcode National: GBR MG.YD7S

Mapcode Global: FRA 560Y.QPT

Entry Name: Lewesdon hillfort, 525m north east of Brimbley Coombe Farm

Scheduled Date: 18 May 1960

Last Amended: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017034

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31077

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Stoke Abbott

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Broadwindsor with Burstock St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes Lewesdon hillfort, a large univallate hillfort on the
top of a narrow hill, 525m north east of Brimbley Coombe Farm. It is one of
four hillforts within 8km at the western end of the Marshwood Vale. All four
are the subject of separate schedulings.
The hillfort is defended on its south western and south eastern sides by a
precipitous scarp. Along the northern side where the slope is less steep
there are traces of an infilled ditch about 7m below the level of the interior
which covers an area of about 1.2ha. At the western and southern ends the
hillfort is approached across narrow ridges which create natural causeways. At
the western end, crossing the ridge, there is a slight ditch, 2.5m wide and
0.5m deep, with traces of an outer bank, 4m wide and up to 0.5m high. Inside
the enclosure there are traces of a bank, up to 0.5m high, running along the
edge of the scarp which may be the remains of an inner rampart. Similarly at
the southern end the slope levels off suggesting an infilled ditch with a
counterscarp bank which crosses the ridge. The line of the ditch continues as
a ledge along the south western scarp for about 80m. There is a possible
internal rampart cutting across the ridge 4m wide and up to 0.8m high at this
end. On the northern side, two trackways approach the top of the hill and cut
through the defences; these are likely to be of a later date. The interior of
the hillfort has been disturbed by gravel digging and timber removal.
All fence and gate posts have been excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath these features 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

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.

Lewesdon hillfort survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological
deposits providing information about Iron Age society, economy and
environment. It is one of four hillforts overlooking the western end of the
Marshwood Vale within a distance of 8km representing an unusual concentration.

Source: Historic England

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