Ancient Monuments

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Large univallate hillfort in Bishop's Wood

A Scheduled Monument in St. Clement, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.2985 / 50°17'54"N

Longitude: -5.0495 / 5°2'58"W

OS Eastings: 182918.612319

OS Northings: 48734.095721

OS Grid: SW829487

Mapcode National: GBR ZF.V8SQ

Mapcode Global: FRA 0897.QMK

Entry Name: Large univallate hillfort in Bishop's Wood

Scheduled Date: 28 September 1934

Last Amended: 11 February 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020180

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32951

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Clement

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Kenwyn with St Allen

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The scheduling includes a large univallate hillfort of the later prehistoric
period, situated on the gently sloping top of a spur on the east of a ridge
north of Truro. The hillfort is ovoid in plan, measuring approximately 170m
north east-south west by 143m north west-south east overall.
The hillfort has a rampart of earth and stone, in the range 6.8m-9.4m wide
and 1.8m high on the inside, 2.5m-3m high outside. The external ditch is
around 4.5m wide across its top, 2.5m wide at its base, and 2m deep. The ditch
has steep sides and a fairly level base. Original entrances through the
earthworks on the west and the south east sides are visible as gaps in
the rampart, measuring about 2.8m wide, with causeways up to 9.8m wide across
the ditch. The interior of the hillfort is generally fairly level.
The modern marker 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 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying
shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and
surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions.
They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used
between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for
earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the
ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on
such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with
display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of
redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen.
The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of
slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may
survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and
between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or
two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned
ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the
passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by
outworks. 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. Large
univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded
nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the
chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is
marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further
examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north.
Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in
their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual
components. In view of the rarity of large univallate hillforts and their
importance in understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron
Age society, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed
to be of national importance.

The large univallate hillfort in Bishop's Wood survives well. Its enclosing
earthworks remain substantially intact. The old land surface underlying the
upstanding earthworks and remains of buildings, structures and other deposits
associated with these will survive.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Borlase, W, Parochial Memoranda, (1740)
AM7, (1934)
MS at RIC library, Truro, Henderson, C, Parochial Antiquities, Parochial Antiquities, (1920)
SW 84 NW 6, Palmer, J, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1965)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map
Source Date: 1880

Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map
Source Date: 1908

Title: St Allen Tithe Apportionment
Source Date: 1841

Source: Historic England

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