Ancient Monuments

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Slight univallate hillfort 230m south west of Old Hall Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Walton upon Trent, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 52.7549 / 52°45'17"N

Longitude: -1.69 / 1°41'24"W

OS Eastings: 421018.159573

OS Northings: 317519.514443

OS Grid: SK210175

Mapcode National: GBR 4D1.CJX

Mapcode Global: WHCGK.00JV

Entry Name: Slight univallate hillfort 230m south west of Old Hall Cottages

Scheduled Date: 29 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017742

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29916

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Walton upon Trent

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Walton-on-Trent St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes the earthworks and below ground remains of a slight
univallate hillfort on Borough Hill. The monument is situated approximately
230m south west of Old Hall Cottages on a flat, naturally raised terrace above
the River Trent which flows along the west side of the monument. The position
of the site was carefully selected so that the steep, natural slopes to the
north, south and west could be incorporated into the hillfort's construction,
providing it with natural defences. The monument affords commanding views of
the broad river flood plain to the south, west and north and the gently rising
land to the east. The topological situation, method of construction and
strength of defences indicate the monument is Iron Age in date.
The monument is ovoid in shape, measuring up to 375m in length and 150m in
width and is defined on the eastern side by a sunken road (Catton Road).
Internally the monument is divided into two distinct areas by a steep slope
which runs most of the way across the width of the site. The northern section,
which constitutes approximately one third of the monument, is set about 1m
lower than that to the south and appears to have been artificially terraced.
Material removed during this process was probably used to enhance the dividing
bank, providing greater protection for the southern part of the hillfort. The
defences of the southern part of the monument are further enhanced by low
banks constructed along the top edge of the natural slope on the western and
southern sides.
The outer circuit of the monument is broken by two entrances, one to the east
and another to the south. The eastern entrance, which gives access to the
lower, northern section of the hillfort is complex and takes the form of a
sunken corridor which extends approximately 50m into the hillfort and survives
to a depth of about 1m. An `L'-shaped terrace sits up to 0.5m above the
southern bank of the corridor and runs parallel to it before turning 90
degrees to run south along the eastern edge of the monument. The terrace,
which follows a slight incline, has been truncated by modern farm cottages but
appears to have led into the main southern section of the hillfort. This
entrance would have been clearly visible from the higher southern part of the
monument where anyone entering the fort could be closely monitored.
The southern entrance provides access from the river flood plain, at the base
of the natural slope into the southernmost part of the monument. The
entrance, which is relatively simple in construction, survives as a slight
terrace cut into a natural break in the slope. At its northern end the terrace
joins the defensive bank running around the south and east of the monument.
Faint traces of medieval ridge and furrow (cultivation strips) are visible
over most of the interior of the hillfort, making it difficult to recognise
earlier features. There is, however, evidence that the southern part of the
hillfort was divided into at least three sections. These are marked by two
slopes which run east to west across the monument and survive to a height of
approximately 0.2m. Each slope marks an increase in the height of ground level
creating three terraces, the highest of which is at the southern end of the
monument. The first slope crosses the site about 80m north of the southern
entrance. At its western end it joins with the defensive bank and curves round
to the south. A break in the defensive bank marks the point at which it joins.
The eastern end of the slope has been truncated by modern farm buildings.
The second slope extends about 60m across the site approximately 160m north
of the southern entrance. This has been levelled at its western end by
medieval cultivation and has been truncated at its eastern end by farm
buildings. Human remains have been recovered from the southernmost section of
the hillfort during the construction of modern farm buildings.
All modern fences, gates, drainage pipes, animal feeding troughs, and
metalled surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath all of these features is included.

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.

Borough Hill hillfort is a rare and well preserved example of this type of
monument in Derbyshire. Despite some degradation from medieval cultivation the
site obviously retains important archaeological evidence relating to the Iron
Age occupation of the site. Taken as a whole Borough Hill hillfort will
significantly improve our understanding of Iron Age communities in the area
and their command of the wider landscape.

Source: Historic England

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