Ancient Monuments

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Wincobank slight univallate hillfort and World War II anti-aircraft gun and searchlight emplacement

A Scheduled Monument in Shiregreen and Brightside, Sheffield

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Latitude: 53.4144 / 53°24'51"N

Longitude: -1.4332 / 1°25'59"W

OS Eastings: 437773.166885

OS Northings: 390991.565423

OS Grid: SK377909

Mapcode National: GBR 9R5.9V

Mapcode Global: WHDDH.YFQT

Entry Name: Wincobank slight univallate hillfort and World War II anti-aircraft gun and searchlight emplacement

Scheduled Date: 23 March 1927

Last Amended: 11 January 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017615

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13375

County: Sheffield

Electoral Ward/Division: Shiregreen and Brightside

Built-Up Area: Sheffield

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Brightside with Wincobank

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield


The monument is situated on top of an isolated sandstone hill overlooking the
Don valley. It includes the remains of an Iron Age slight univallate hillfort
and the site of a World War II anti-aircraft gun and searchlight emplacement.
Evidence for Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age occupation has also been
found on the hill outside the hillfort and on the lower slopes to the south,
north of the Prehistoric linear earthwork known as the Roman Ridge. This
evidence suggests the presence in this area of Prehistoric and Romano-British
farming settlements centred on the hillfort. However, the extent and survival
of these remains are not at present fully understood and so these areas have
not been included in the scheduling.
The hillfort comprises an oval enclosure with an internal area of 1.lha
surrounded by a single rampart with an external ditch and counterscarp bank.
Although eroded in places, the rampart survives to a height of up to 2.8m from
the bottom of the ditch, which has an average width of c.l0m. A partial
excavation of the rampart and counterscarp bank was carried out in 1899 by
E Howarth. In 1979, a watching brief was carried out by Pauline Beswick
during the cutting of a drainage ditch through the north-east rampart.
Howarth found that the rampart was originally built as a wall 5.5m thick
consisting of large stones facing a core of earth and rubble bonded by timber
lacing. The counterscarp bank was built from earth and stone cast up from the
ditch. Radio-carbon dates from the trench cut in 1979 indicate a construction
date of c.500BC while burnt and vitrified stone and charred timber found by
Howarth show that the rampart was destroyed by fire, possibly as a result of
inter-tribal warfare during the later Iron Age. Although it was once believed
that the breaks in the rampart on the north-east and south-west sides
represented original entrances, this has now been disproved and it is now
believed that the gap on the south-east side is the original entrance as the
ramparts turn inwards slightly at this point. A mound set close to the
rampart is likely to be the site of a guard tower. An area of flattened
earthworks adjacent to the south-west gap is the site of the World War II gun
and searchlight emplacement.
All Council notices are excluded from the scheduling though the ground
underneath 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

Slight univallate hillforts are enclosures defined by a single line of
earthworks located on or near the tops of hills. The scale of the earthworks,
which may comprise a rampart, a ditch and a counterscarp bank, is small.
This, and the fact that they are not necessarily located on the highest or
most inaccessible hills but almost exclusively above river valleys, implies
they were not primarily defensive features but were sited for ease of
communication and access to the greatest variety of resources. Most slight
univallate hillforts were built in the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age,
while most of those that were not remodelled during the later Iron Age had
been abandoned by the end of the fifth century BC. Approximately 150 examples
are recorded nationally with only a small number lying outside central
southern England. In area they vary between 1 and 10ha though, again, those
at the upper end of the scale tend to be concentrated in the south. Common
features of the internal layouts of slight univallate hillforts include the
postholes, stakeholes and trenches of timber buildings, storage pits and
hearths, and small finds such as spindle whorls, wool combs, tools and
personal adornments. These are indicative of temporary or permanent
occupation though some slight univallate hillforts have been interpreted as
stock enclosures or redistribution centres.
Slight univallate hillforts are one of the rarer types of monument that
characterise the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age and those examples with
well-preserved earthworks and internal deposits are considered worthy of
Wincobank hillfort is a well-preserved example of a slight univallate hillfort
which lies outside the main distribution. Although the ramparts are somewhat
disturbed by erosion and partial excavation, substantial areas, including
those around the original entrance, survive largely intact while the interior
of the hillfort remains largely undisturbed. The re-use of part of the
rampart as an anti-aircraft gun and searchlight emplacement during World War
II is also of interest.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Chalkley-Gould, I, Some Early Defensive Earthworks In The Sheffield District, (1904)
Hunter, J, Hallamshire: The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield, (1869)
Leader, R E, 'Handbook and Guide to Sheffield' in Antiquities of Sheffield, (1910)
Preston, F L, 'Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society' in A Field Survey of the Roman Rig Dyke, , Vol. 6, (1950), 197/285
Preston, F L, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in The Hill-Forts of the Peak, , Vol. 74, (1954), 1-30
Preston, F L, 'Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society' in Hillforts In South-West Yorkshire, , Vol. 6, (1950), 85-94
Beswick, P, Wincobank Hillfort Drainage Scheme: Archaeological Report, Forthcoming
In SMR (prn 650), Beswick, Pauline, Notes on Wincobank Hillfort, (1984)
In SMR (PRN 650), Riley, T H, Notes on the Natural History of Wincobank Hill, (1972)

Source: Historic England

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