Ancient Monuments

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Hilltop enclosure known as Maristow Camp, 240m east of Middle Park House

A Scheduled Monument in Bickleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4591 / 50°27'32"N

Longitude: -4.1215 / 4°7'17"W

OS Eastings: 249511.16411

OS Northings: 64288.490371

OS Grid: SX495642

Mapcode National: GBR NX.NH5T

Mapcode Global: FRA 278V.06B

Entry Name: Hilltop enclosure known as Maristow Camp, 240m east of Middle Park House

Scheduled Date: 20 July 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019784

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33770

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Bickleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes an Iron Age hilltop enclosure located on an east to
west ridge, west of Roborough Down. It survives as an oval enclosure defined
by a rampart and outer ditch. It is aligned from north to south with an
interior 96m long by 73m wide. The rampart measures between 8m and 10m wide
and is from 0.5m to 0.8m high, rising to 1.2m at the north end. The outer
ditch is 8m wide by 0.3m to 0.5m deep. A slight upcast bank is visible on the
north west side, 4m wide by up to 0.2m high. One original entrance is on the
west side, with enlarged ramparts and a wider ditch to its north, while the
south east entrance has an inturned rampart terminal on its south side. A 19th
century carriage drive passes through this entrance, but exits via a causeway
across the rampart in the south west corner. This drive crosses the monument
on a causeway 8m wide by 0.8m high. A later field boundary follows the east
and south west sides of the enclosure. The outer ditch of the enclosure is
faintly visible in the field outside this boundary, where it is 8m wide and up
to 0.4m deep. Subsequent enclosure of the monument within parkland of the
post-medieval period is represented by large oak pollards which still grow on
the ramparts.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and track surfacings,
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

Hilltop enclosures are defined as sub-rectangular or elongated areas of
ground, usually between 10ha and 40ha in size, situated on hilltops or
plateaux and surrounded by slight univallate earthworks. They date to between
the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth-fifth centuries BC) and are usually
interpreted as stock enclosures or sites where agricultural produce was
stored. Many examples of hilltop enclosures may have developed into more
strongly defended sites later in the Iron Age period and are therefore often
difficult to recognise in their original form. The earthworks generally
consist of a bank separated from an external ditch by a level berm. Access to
the interior was generally provided by two or three entrances which consisted
of simple gaps in the rampart. Evidence for internal features is largely
dependent on excavation, and to date this has included large areas of sparsely
scattered features including post and stakeholes, hearths and pits.
Rectangular or square buildings are also evident; these are generally defined
by between four and six postholes and are thought to have supported raised
granaries. Hilltop enclosures are rare, with between 25 and 30 examples
recorded nationally. A greater number may exist but these could have been
developed into hillforts later in the Iron Age and could only be confirmed by
detailed survey or excavation. The majority of known examples are located in
two regions, on the chalk downland of Wessex and Sussex and in the Cotswolds.
More scattered examples are found in north-east Oxfordshire and north
Northamptonshire. This class of monument has not been recorded outside
England. In view of the rarity of hilltop enclosures and their importance in
understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of
national importance.

Despite slight damage to its ramparts, the hilltop enclosure known as Maristow
Camp is well preserved. Its ramparts, surrounding ditch and interior contain
archaeological and environmental information relating to the enclosure and the
landscape in which it was built.

Source: Historic England


Fieldwork by RJ Silvester, Silvester, RJ, (1977)
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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