Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Ringwork on Whitsburn Hill, 310m south west of Whitsburn Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Worthen with Shelve, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.6201 / 52°37'12"N

Longitude: -2.9927 / 2°59'33"W

OS Eastings: 332890.772219

OS Northings: 302942.536561

OS Grid: SJ328029

Mapcode National: GBR B6.83VD

Mapcode Global: WH8C3.0D5Q

Entry Name: Ringwork on Whitsburn Hill, 310m south west of Whitsburn Cottage

Scheduled Date: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020151

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34902

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Worthen with Shelve

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Worthen

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a ringwork, situated
on a gentle north west facing slope on the northern flank of Whitsburn Hill.
From this location there is a commanding view of the whole Rea Brook valley.
The ringwork is broadly contemporary with other medieval fortifications in the
vicinity including the mottes near Village Farm and Lady House Farm, which are
the subject of separate schedulings.
The ringwork is an oval-shaped enclosure, measuring approximately 32m north to
south by 36m east to west. The external ditch is between 5m and 8m wide. The
portion to the south is about 1m deep and is waterlogged, while the northern
and eastern portions survive as a buried feature as they have been largely
infilled. Material excavated from the ditch has been used to raise the
northern half of the interior above the level of the surrounding land in order
to create a level building platform, that stands up to 1.9m high and probably
supported a watchtower. Spoil from this operation has also been used to create
a low bank, 4m wide, around the top of the internal platform. It defines a
circular area about 11m in diameter. The north western part of the bank has
been subsequently reduced in height.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, 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

Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late
Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended
area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a
substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a
stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the
bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military
operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements.
They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60
with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted
range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular
significance to our understanding of the period.

Despite some modification to the defences, the ringwork on Whitsburn Hill is a
good example of this class of monument. It is one of the smallest ringworks
known in Shropshire and its principal purpose appears to have been to support
a watchtower, the remains of which will survive as a buried feature. The form
of the ringwork is also unusual in that the interior has been been partially
raised above the level of the surrounding land. Organic remains, preserved in
the buried ground surface beneath the bank and the raised interior and
deposited within the ditches, will provide information about the local
environment and the use of the land prior to and following the construction of
the ringwork.

Source: Historic England

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