Ancient Monuments

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Iron Age promontory fort in Castlehill Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Godstone, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.2403 / 51°14'24"N

Longitude: -0.0487 / 0°2'55"W

OS Eastings: 536307.714827

OS Northings: 150817.158824

OS Grid: TQ363508

Mapcode National: GBR KKK.0JC

Mapcode Global: VHGSD.33M1

Entry Name: Iron Age promontory fort in Castlehill Wood

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017997

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31389

County: Surrey

Civil Parish: Godstone

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Godstone and Blindley Heath

Church of England Diocese: Southwark


The monument includes a promontory fort situated on a spur which projects to
the west from a sandstone hill around 1.4km to the south east of Godstone. The
promontory fort's defences were constructed across the neck of the spur and
survive as a NNE-SSW aligned, approximately 110m long, curving bank around 15m
wide and 2.6m high, flanked to the east by an outer ditch up to 15m wide and
1.4m deep. The eastern edge of the ditch has been destroyed by the
construction of the modern A22 Godstone bypass during the mid-1980s, and this
area is therefore not included in the scheduling.
Access to the interior of the fort was provided by a simple gap at the south
western end of the ramparts. Contemporary buildings, storage pits and
associated structures and features will have covered much of the steeply-sided
spur top, and traces of these can be expected to survive in the form of below
ground archaeological features.
During World War II, the monument was used as an aircraft observation post,
represented by a small trench dug into the southern sector of the monument.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally
defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more
earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it
from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by
steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings
defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches
formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected
along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an
entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively
for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone-
walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings
used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally
Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth
century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with
other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status,
probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest
that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display
as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded
examples. In view of their rarity and their importance in the understanding of
the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are considered nationally

Despite some subsequent disturbance, the promontory fort in Castlehill Wood
survives comparatively well and will retain archaeological and environmental
evidence relating to the construction and original use of the monument.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
O'Connell, M, Poulton, R, 'Surrey Archaeological Collections' in An Excavation at Castle Hill, Godstone, , Vol. 74, (1983), 213-215

Source: Historic England

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