Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric enclosure known as Stow Camp

A Scheduled Monument in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.9317 / 51°55'53"N

Longitude: -1.7185 / 1°43'6"W

OS Eastings: 419449.179367

OS Northings: 225942.650161

OS Grid: SP194259

Mapcode National: GBR 4PW.Y1R

Mapcode Global: VHBZ5.5QB1

Entry Name: Prehistoric enclosure known as Stow Camp

Scheduled Date: 7 May 1948

Last Amended: 11 February 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017341

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32393

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Stow-on-the-Wold

Built-Up Area: Stow-on-the-Wold

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Broadwell St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes the known surviving extent of a prehistoric
fortification situated on the top of a hill in the Cotswolds, immediately to
the north east of the modern town of Stow-on-the-Wold. The north eastern
section of the enclosure is visible as an earthwork bank, about 20m wide and
2m high, which runs between Well Lane and Shepherd's Way. The topography of
the site and the curved shape of the property boundaries to the south east of
this earthwork suggest that it is part of an oval enclosure which formerly
covered an area of about 12ha, running to the east of Kiln Garden and Ashton
House, before swinging to the west and north along the line of Park Street and
Digbeth Street, through Market Square and returning east to Parson's Corner.
The existence of a prehistoric enclosure at Stow has been postulated since the
mid-19th century, based on the Saxon place name `Maethelgeres Byrig' recorded
in a charter of AD 714. Excavations by O'Neil in 1972 first revealed evidence
for the enclosure with the discovery of an undated ditch. Work by Parry
between 1991 and 1992 revealed two further ditches, of defensive proportions,
one of which was shown by radiocarbon dating to have been dug during the
mid-Bronze Age. The undated ditch discovered by Parry, and that revealed in
1972 by O'Neil share morphological similarities (they are both broad with
shallow, sloping sides and lie in similar topographic locations), and it has
been suggested that they may be different stretches of the same feature.
The houses and outbuildings of the properties known as The Surgery, Ivy
Cottage, Earlswood, Woodbanke Cottage, 1 and 2 Ellacot, Eastcombe, and The
Cottage, all brick and stone walls, fences and telegraph poles are excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Ram's Hill type enclosures were constructed on hilltops in southern England
throughout the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). They usually survive as an oval area
of up to c.5ha defended by a single bank and external ditch interrupted by
simple causewayed entrances. Traces of circular houses have been found within
the interiors, and associated field systems have been identified nearby; the
enclosures are therefore interpreted as the sites of domestic settlement. Some
examples, such as the earliest phase of the enclosure on Ram's Hill itself,
may have been occupied on a temporary seasonal basis, and evidence for
episodes of feasting on a social or ceremonial scale has been found. In
several cases, investigations have provided evidence for the remodelling and
reuse of the enclosures during the later prehistoric and Roman periods.
Sparsely distributed throughout central southern England, Ram's Hill type
enclosures are one of very few classes of monument dating to the Early and
Middle Bronze Age. They are a rare monument type; less than 10 have been
positively identified. All examples with surviving remains are therefore
considered to be of national importance.

The extant part of the defences of the prehistoric enclosure known as Stow
Camp survives well, despite some modern development in the area. The monument
contains remains of Bronze and Iron Age date relating to the construction and
maintenance of the defences as well as to settlement and other activities
within the enclosure. It is notable that several large Middle and Late Bronze
Age enclosures have been found on sites later used for Iron Age hillforts, and
in many cases the Iron Age defensive circuit partly corresponds with the line
of the Bronze Age enclosure, as is the case at Stow. The monument will
therefore contain evidence relating to the continuity of occupation at the
site, providing an insight into changing patterns of settlement, building and
manufacturing techniques. The likelihood that the Bronze Age enclosure is
similar to that at Ram's Hill in Oxfordshire, of which few examples are known,
increases the potential of the site to provide information about Bronze Age
defensive constructions and settlement. The continuity of settlement in the
area of the camp from the Bronze Age through to the present day is unusual and
adds to its value to the local community. Below ground remains will include
evidence for the defences, especially the ditches, structures and materials
relating directly to the occupation and use of the site. Organic remains in
the form of charred grains and seeds will also survive, giving an insight into
the diet of the inhabitants as well as the local environment at the time the
monument was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Parry, C, Report on the observation of an Iron Age ditch at Ellacot, Stow, (1991)
Grinsell, L V, 'Trans. of the Bristol and Glos. Arch. Society' in The Royce Collection at Stow-on-the-Wold, , Vol. LXXXIII, (1964), 11

Source: Historic England

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