Ancient Monuments

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Circular enclosure 300m north east of Forest Field

A Scheduled Monument in Shepshed, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.7755 / 52°46'31"N

Longitude: -1.3319 / 1°19'54"W

OS Eastings: 445168.033387

OS Northings: 319981.558831

OS Grid: SK451199

Mapcode National: GBR 7J4.S51

Mapcode Global: WHDHN.JH0K

Entry Name: Circular enclosure 300m north east of Forest Field

Scheduled Date: 4 March 1953

Last Amended: 16 November 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018360

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30244

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Shepshed

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Belton St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument includes the remains of a small Iron Age defended enclosure
situated on the summit of a hill approximately 300m north east of Forest

The enclosure comprises a ditch defining an asymmetric, curvilinear platform
measuring approximately 100m east to west and 80m north to south. The ditch is
a maximum of 8m in width and 1.5m in depth, with a `U'-shaped profile. It is
waterlogged on its eastern side. A slight mound on the outer edge of the north
western rim of the ditch is considered to represent the remains of a
counterscarp bank. The orientation of the earthwork in relation to the road,
the layout of adjacent field boundaries, and erosion to the north western side
of the ditch and counterscarp all suggest that the original entrance was
located on this side. There are also barely discernible traces of an
intermittent bank on the inner edge of the ditch, probably comprising spoil
from its exacavation or re-cutting. The internal platform enclosed by the
ditch also shows evidence of subsequent medieval cultivation in the form of
very faint ridge and furrow.

A small trench excavated on the platform in 1954 recovered predominantly Iron
Age and Roman pottery, in addition to broken roof slates of probable
post-medieval date. Fieldwalking immediately east of the monument in 1978
recovered two further Iron Age pot sherds and a large quantity of Roman
material. The base of a `Beehive' quern used for grinding grain of Iron Age
date was also recovered from the ditch. The finds suggest that the enclosure
was initially constructed in the Iron Age, remaining in use through the Roman
period with its internal platform being used for cultivation in the medieval

All fences and field hedges are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them 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.

The remains of the circular hilltop enclosure 300m north east of Forest Field
survive particularly well as a series of substantial and largely undisturbed
earthworks and buried features. The waterlogged nature of the eastern side of
the ditch will ensure the preservation of organic deposits relating to the
construction and use of the site. The enclosure represents a particularly
unusual survival in an area of otherwise intensive arable cultivation. As a
result of the recovery of pottery from the central platform, the ditch
enclosing it and the surrounding fields, the remains are quite well understood
and will provide a good insight into the use and adaptation of the site over a
period of time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Liddle, P, Leicestershire Archaeology: The Present State of Knowledge, (1982)
Department of Antiquities, , 'Trans. of Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society' in Belton 451200, , Vol. 30, (1954)
Leicestershire Museums Service, Site Summary Sheet: 42 SE.P,
Moore, J, (1997)
Tarver, Anne, SK 4520, Trans. of Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, (1977)
Title: Plan of Titheable Part of Belton
Source Date: 1852

Source: Historic England

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