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Wall Camp in the Weald Moors: a large low-lying multivallate hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Kynnersley, Telford and Wrekin

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Latitude: 52.757 / 52°45'25"N

Longitude: -2.4743 / 2°28'27"W

OS Eastings: 368088.262721

OS Northings: 317819.278769

OS Grid: SJ680178

Mapcode National: GBR 7V.ZCJC

Mapcode Global: WH9CP.YYYR

Entry Name: Wall Camp in the Weald Moors: a large low-lying multivallate hillfort

Scheduled Date: 17 December 1929

Last Amended: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020282

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34907

County: Telford and Wrekin

Civil Parish: Kynnersley

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Kynnersley St Chad

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a large low-lying
multivallate hillfort situated on an elevated area of sandstone and boulder
clay, which is surrounded by an extensive area of peat that is derived from a
former fen.
The hillfort is oval in plan, with overall dimensions of 590m north-south by
690m east-west. The defensive circuit encloses an area of approximately 12ha.
Its size would suggest that it was the settlement of a very large community,
and its location, in the middle of a fen, provided an extra defensive
advantage. The surrounding fen is also likely to have been an important source
of food, particularly fish and fowl.
The earthwork defences of the hillfort consist of multiple banks separated by
ditches. The inner rampart defines a heart-shaped area, which reflects the
natural shape of the elevated `island'. The best preserved sections of this
rampart are on the western and northern sides of the enclosure, and average 2m
in height. Some parts of this defensive work have been modified by the
creation of the road and by quarrying for soil. Much of the southern and
eastern parts of the inner rampart have been reduced in height by ploughing.
The external ditch, which bounds the inner rampart, has largely been infilled,
but will survive as a buried feature. A causeway about 8m wide through the
inner rampart, at the south eastern corner of the fort, appears to have formed
the original entranceway into the interior.
A topographical survey of the site by the Ordnance Survey and evidence from
aerial photographs indicate that the inner rampart is surrounded by a complex
series of outer earthworks. Large sections of these earthworks appear to have
been extensively remodelled at a later date in order to increase the lines of
defence, particularly around the northern half of the site. Where the land has
not been cultivated, these outer earthworks are visible mainly as narrow, low
and close-set banks separated by ditches. In the areas where the defences have
been reducued in height by ploughing, these remains will survive as buried
features. At a later stage during the occupation of the fort, a second
entranceway into the interior was created. This involved the construction of a
large flat-topped causeway across the north eastern sector of remodelled outer
defences and over the inner rampart. An observation of a cutting made through
the northern part of the inner rampart and small-scale archaeological
excavations conducted in 1962 and 1965 across parts of the defences, indicated
further the complexity and multi-phased nature of these earthworks.
In 1983 a small-scale archaeological excavation was undertaken within the
interior close to Wall Farm. The remains of circular buildings were discovered
in association with rectangular post-built structures, providing evidence of
domestic occupation and the storage of food. The Iron Age pottery recovered
from these features comprised local and non-local wares, together with pieces
of coarse ceramic containers, known as stony Very Coarse Pottery. These
coarsely made pots contained salt, which was transported from brine springs in
Cheshire. The date range of this pottery assemblage indicates that the
occupation at Wall Camp began around the third century BC and probably had
ceased by the beginning of the first century AD. A blue glass bead with white
spiral decoration found within the area of the northern outer defences is
considered to date from the second or first century BC. Similar examples have
been found at other contemporary Iron Age settlements in north Wales and
Wall farmhouse, all outbuildings and agricutural buildings, the driveway
surface, paths and paved areas, ornamental garden features, modern walls,
fences, gate posts and stiles, the cast iron water pump, water troughs, horse
jumps, electricity poles, the footbridge crossing the Strine Brook, the
concrete marker for the gas pipeline, the surface of the road and Wall Bridge
which crosses the Strine Brook are excluded from the scheduling, however the
ground beneath all these features is included.
The late 18th century stone quarry to the west of Wall Farm is totally
excluded from the scheduling.

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 multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between
5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of
concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron
Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC
and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of
permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection
of the power struggle between competing elites.
Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have
ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances
although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may
comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts,
oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally
include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or
circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered,
for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as
raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain
evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include
platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fencelines, hearths and ovens.
Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial
activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture
occurred on many sites.
Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded
nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh
Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere.
In view of the rarity of large multivallate hillforts and their importance in
understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period,
all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of
national importance.

Despite modification to parts of its defensive circuit, Wall Camp is a good
example of a large low-lying multivallate hillfort. Very few large low-lying
multivallate hillforts are known to have been constructed in Britain. The
closest parellel, which is broadly contemporary, is Stonea Camp in
Cambridgeshire, which is also surrounded by a former fen.
At Wall Camp, a small-scale excavation undertaken within the interior has
demonstrated that significant buried deposits, structural features and
artefactual remains survive well here. In relation to its topographical
location, it is likely that waterlogged deposits containing a range of
well-preserved organic remains will survive in the ditches and other deeply
cut features. All these remains have the potential to provide a valuable
insight into many aspects of Iron Age life. The limited archaeological
excavations of the defences have shown that these earthworks retain important
information about their construction and subsequent modification. Organic
remains surviving in the buried ground surfaces beneath the ramparts and
within the ditches will also provide valuable evidence about the local
environment and the use of the surrounding land before the fort was
constructed and during its occupation.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cantrill, T C, The Country Between Stafford and Market Drayton31
Leah, M , The Wetlands of Shropshire and Staffordshire, (1998), 123
Leah, M , The Wetlands of Shropshire and Staffordshire, (1998), 78-85
Leah, M , The Wetlands of Shropshire and Staffordshire, (1998), 69
Leah, M , The Wetlands of Shropshire and Staffordshire, (1998), 137
Bond, D, 'Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society' in An Excavation at Wall Camp, Kynnersley, , Vol. 67, (1991), 98-107
Britnell, W et al, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in The Collfryn Hillslope Enclosure, , Vol. 55, (1989), 126,129
Ellis, P, 'The Prehistoric Beads report' in Beeston Castle, Cheshire, (1993), 63
Pagett, J A, 'West Midlands Archaeological News Sheet' in Wall Farm, , Vol. 8, (1965), 16
Pagett, J A, 'Shropshire News Letter' in Wall Farm, (1962), 1
Pagett, J A, 'Shropshire News Letter' in Wall Farm, (1962), 2
Pagett, J A, 'Shropshire News Letter' in Wall Farm, , Vol. 28, (1965), 3
Bead is in possession of the owner, Dobson, N, (2000)
Olique AP in the possesion of owner, RAF, RAF U10FTS 14/12/38, (1938)
Title: Wall Camp
Source Date: 1975
Ordnance Survey Antiquity Model for 1:2500 map
Vertical AP in BUFAU, NERC, NERC Film 19/96 Site 95/5 Run 12 6613, (1996)

Source: Historic England

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