Ancient Monuments

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Iron Age defended settlement 400m south of Manor Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Wraxall and Failand, North Somerset

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Latitude: 51.4443 / 51°26'39"N

Longitude: -2.6913 / 2°41'28"W

OS Eastings: 352051.500132

OS Northings: 171925.233516

OS Grid: ST520719

Mapcode National: GBR JL.N9Q7

Mapcode Global: VH88L.9YLP

Entry Name: Iron Age defended settlement 400m south of Manor Farm

Scheduled Date: 28 July 1960

Last Amended: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018267

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22844

County: North Somerset

Civil Parish: Wraxall and Failand

Built-Up Area: Failand

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes an Iron Age defended settlement situated on level ground
in an upland area of carboniferous limestone, 400m south of Manor Farm.
The monument has a level sub-oval interior with a maximum diameter of 40m;
this contains slight earthworks which relate to the domestic structures
formerley located inside.
Surrounding the enclosed area is a bank and external ditch. The bank is
composed of small stones overlying natural outcrops of rock: this survives to
a maximum height of about 1m and is up to 8m wide. Where visible in the
southern and western areas of the monument there are traces of an external
ditch 8m wide. The remainder of the ditch has become infilled over the years
but survives as a buried feature. There is a possible entrance 3m wide south
in the south western area of the enclosure where the bank is disturbed,
although it is not certain that this is an original feature.
Part excavations conducted in 1928 revealed a Kimmeridge shale bracelet and
sherds of black burnished pottery. These artefacts are characteristic of Iron
Age rural settlements.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts relating to the field
boundary, although the ground beneath them 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

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were
constructed and occupied in south-western England. At the top of the
settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition
to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also
constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent
positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an
enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen
construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate
sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second
phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where
excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the
enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied
by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group.
Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element
of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south-western
England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified
settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are likely to be
identified as nationally important.

The Iron Age defended settlement 400m south of Manor Farm survives well and is
known from part excavation to contain archaeological and environmental
information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was
constructed. It is unusual for such a site to survive as an earthwork as most
have been levelled and are now visible only as crop or soil marks from the

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Phillips, C, 'Proc Univ Bristol Spel Soc' in The Roman camp at Manor Farm, Failand, Somerset, (1933), 150
Phillips, C, 'Proc Univ Bristol Spel Soc' in The Roman camp at Manor Farm, Failand, Somerset, (1933), 150

Source: Historic England

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