Ancient Monuments

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Stockland Little Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Stockland, Devon

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Latitude: 50.8269 / 50°49'36"N

Longitude: -3.0948 / 3°5'41"W

OS Eastings: 322987.827286

OS Northings: 103610.686036

OS Grid: ST229036

Mapcode National: GBR M1.X9R6

Mapcode Global: FRA 46DX.B4X

Entry Name: Stockland Little Castle

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1956

Last Amended: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017953

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29647

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Stockland

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Stockland St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes Stockland Little Castle, a settlement of later
prehistoric to Roman date known as a round. It is near circular in plan with
an enclosed area of just over 1ha defended by a single rampart and ditch. The
site is located on a hill-slope spur on the east facing slope of the long
Greensand ridge which lies between the Umborne Brook and the River Yarty.
The enclosed interior of the site has maximum dimensions of 126m north south
by 104m east-west. The ground surface of the interior is slightly domed; this
may be the effect of soil quarries for the construction of the rampart and
this feature is particularly clear behind the inner face of the rampart on its
south east side. The rampart survives over most of its circuit as an 8m wide
earthen bank with chert and Greensand inclusions. It has an external height of
2.5m with a steep slope and near vertical inner face with a maximum height
of 2m. The rampart has been broken through and levelled in two places in
comparatively recent times: once on the south west side where just over 23m of
the original bank was removed but then later mostly reinstated to leave a gap
only about 6m wide; and once on the north east side where a 14.7m stretch has
been removed and replaced by later banking and hedging. The location of the
original entrance has been identified in archaeological survey by the presence
of a causeway in the ditch forward of the area on the north east where the
rampart was removed. The encircling ditch of the site survives as a visible
feature on the north and east side of the monument where it is a maximum of 1m
deep and between 5m-6m in width. It forms a wide depression in the field
fronting the south east face of the rampart with a width from its outer lip to
the rampart of 7m. Elsewhere on the circuit it has been infilled and it is no
longer visible as a feature on the ground on the western and north western
All fencing and fence posts, and gates and gate posts, 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.
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

Rounds are small embanked enclosures with an external ditch, usually circular
or oval, forming one of a range of known settlement types dating to the later
Iron Age and Roman periods. They usually have a single earth-and-rubble bank
and an outer ditch, broken by one entrance gap. Excavated examples have
produced dry-stone supporting walls within the bank, paved or cobbled entrance
ways and post-built gate structures. Excavated features within rounds have
included foundations of timber, turf or stone-built houses, of oval or
rectangular plan, often set around the inner edge of the enclosing bank. Other
features include hearths, drains, gullies, pits, and rubbish middens. Evidence
for industrial activities has been recovered from some sites, including small
scale metal working, and among the domestic debris occur items traded from
distant sources. Some rounds are associated with secondary enclosures often
circular or rectangular, and either butted against the round as an annexe or
forming an additional enclosure up to 100m away.
Rounds are viewed primarily as agricultural settlement types, the equivalents
of farming hamlets, replaced by unenclosed settlement types by the 7th century
AD. Over 750 rounds are recorded nationally, occurring throughout the areas
bordering the Irish Sea, and confined in England largely to Cornwall and south
west Devon, although a few have been recognised further east. They are most
densely concentrated in west Cornwall and are usually sited on hill-slopes and
spurs. They are particularly important as one of the major sources of
information on settlement and social organisation of the Iron Age and Roman
periods in south west England. Consequently, sites displaying an extensive
complete ground plan representative of the range of known types, topographical
locations, and geographical spread, will normally be considered to be of
national importance.

Stockland Little Castle is located well to the east of the previously accepted
range of rounds. Nevertheless, its siting on a hill-slope spur, its shape, and
the nature and appearance of its banked and ditched enclosure, are all
characteristic of this type of monument. It is therefore a significant example
of its type lying at some distance from their area of heaviest concentration.
It survives well and will retain archaeological evidence for the monument's
construction, the lives of its inhabitants, and the landscape in which they
lived. A hillfort of similar date is located some 900m south of this monument.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Fox, A, Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon, (1996), 53
Griffith, F, Devon's Past: An Aerial View, (1988), 99
Kirwan, R, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Prehistoric Archaeology of East Devon, , Vol. 4 part 2, (1871), 648
Wall, J C, 'A History of the County of Devon (Victoria County History)' in Ancient Earthworks, , Vol. I, (1906)
County Planning Dept. files, Child, PC, Prehistoric Archaeology of East Devon, (1973)
Quinnell, NV, (1982)
Woolcombe, (1840)

Source: Historic England

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