Ancient Monuments

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Weatherby Castle, an Iron Age hillfort 1020m north west of Ashley Barn Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Affpuddle and Turnerspuddle, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.7655 / 50°45'55"N

Longitude: -2.2749 / 2°16'29"W

OS Eastings: 380707.379768

OS Northings: 96245.43475

OS Grid: SY807962

Mapcode National: GBR 0YZ.TZJ

Mapcode Global: FRA 6732.5K2

Entry Name: Weatherby Castle, an Iron Age hillfort 1020m north west of Ashley Barn Farm

Scheduled Date: 8 November 1928

Last Amended: 6 October 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019360

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33541

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Affpuddle and Turnerspuddle

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Milborne St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes Weatherby Castle, a small multivallate hillfort which
occupies a prominent position at the higher southern end of a chalk spur.
The hillfort has two roughly concentric ramparts and ditches, separated by a
gap of up to 27m enclosing an irregular sub-rectangular area of about 7ha, on
the highest part of the hill. The inner enclosure covers an area of about
2.5ha and is defined by a rampart, up to 25m wide, up to 2.5m high from the
interior and about 6m high externally. The external ditch is about 12m wide
and 1.5m deep with a discontinuous counterscarp bank, up to 8m wide and 0.6m
high. The outer rampart, where best preserved, is up to 25m wide, 2m high from
the interior and up to 9m high from the outside, although for much of its
length it has been reduced on the interior, presumably by past cultivation, to
an outward facing scarp. An external ditch, with a counterscarp bank, noted by
Hutchins in the 18th century, is no longer clearly visible on the surface but
will survive as a buried feature up to 20m wide.
The original entrance on the western side of the hillfort has also been
disturbed. The inner ramparts curve outwards creating a narrow passage 12m
wide, approached from the outside by a ramp. There is a corresponding gap in
the outer bank which is protected by a third bank covering the gap, now an
outward facing scarp 125m long and up to 3m high. A gap in the inner rampart
to the north of this is not original.
There is a low bank, 2.5m wide and 0.4m high, running around the inside of the
hillfort, adjacent to the rampart. This is of unknown date and may be a
plantation enclosure. The domed interior shows no visible signs of occupation
features although they may be masked by the vegetation.
Within the enclosure there is a brick built obelisk with a stone inscribed
`EMP 1761', probably referring to the owner at the time, Edmund Morton
Pleydell. This is a Listed Building Grade II.
All fence posts and the obelisk 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

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying
shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are
defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set
earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the
interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or
more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been
constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first
century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements
of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest
that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with
display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a
rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks
and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by
one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or
inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists
of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures
interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety
of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of
small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a
similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples
recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west
with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the
rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding
the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period,
all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of
national importance.

Weatherby Castle is a comparatively well-preserved example of its class and
will contain archaeological deposits providing information about Iron Age
society, economy and environment.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hutchins, J, History of Dorset: Volume I, (1861), 142

Source: Historic England

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