Ancient Monuments

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Castle Ditches: an enclosed settlement on Bedstone Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Hopton Castle, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.3777 / 52°22'39"N

Longitude: -2.951 / 2°57'3"W

OS Eastings: 335362.301151

OS Northings: 275945.786821

OS Grid: SO353759

Mapcode National: GBR B8.R852

Mapcode Global: VH76J.SHTL

Entry Name: Castle Ditches: an enclosed settlement on Bedstone Hill

Scheduled Date: 19 June 1972

Last Amended: 8 September 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021066

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34936

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Hopton Castle

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Bedstone

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a small enclosed
settlement, known as Castle Ditches, which is either Iron Age or Romano-
British in origin. It is situated on gently sloping ground on top of a
ridge which forms part of Bedstone Hill. From this location there are
views of the neighbouring hills, and the Clun and Teme river valleys to
south east.

The settlement takes the form of a quadrangular enclosure. Its overall
dimensions are approximately 80m north-south by 118m east-west, and its
internal area is about 0.4ha. The earthworks which define the interior of the
settlement have been partially modified by ploughing in the mid-20th century,
and the north eastern corner has been truncated by a road. Along the western,
northern and eastern sides there is an inner bank, approximately 7m wide and
0.5m high, bounded by an external ditch also about 7m wide, visible as a
shallow depression. On the northern and eastern sides the ditch is defined by
an outer bank, about 7m wide and 0.5m in height. Along the southern side of
the enclosure there are no visible indications of an inner bank. Here, the
ditch has been cut into the slope and its northern face is marked by a
pronounced scarp between 1.2m and 1.8m high. Material excavated from the ditch
has been used to form an outer (counterscarp) bank, about 7m wide. The eastern
half of this bank stands to a height of 0.5m, but to the west it has been
partially levelled by ploughing. The entrance to the settlement is on the
eastern side. Here, the ends of the inner bank turn inward to form an entrance
passage about 5m wide. Within the interior of the enclosure are a number of
well-defined platforms cut into the sloping ground, which provided level areas
for the construction of buildings.

The modern road surface is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it 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

During the Iron Age and Roman period a variety of settlement types were
constructed throughout Britain. Small enclosed settlements consist of discrete
areas of occupation, bounded largely or wholly by continuous single or
concentric ditches, banks or walls, and palisades. The size of these
curvilinear or rectilinear enclosures is generally less than 2ha. They were
occupied by a small community, perhaps a single family or several related
family groups. In their original form the enclosures contained a single main
domestic building, or several clusters of domestic buildings. These structures
are normally circular and are often associated with rectangular buildings used
for the storage of agricultural produce. Small enclosed settlements became
common features in the landscape during the second half of the first
millennium BC and throughout the Roman period. They were the dwelling places
of people engaged in small-scale farming and craft production. Considerable
numbers of small enclosed settlements are known, but most have been levelled
by ploughing. All small enclosed settlements where earthwork or standing
structural remains survive are considered to be of national importance.

The small enclosed settlement known as Castle Ditches is a good example of
this class of monument. The survival of internal building platforms as
earthworks indicates that the buried remains of structures and associated
deposits will survive well. These deposits will contain organic remains
and a range of contemporary artefacts, which will provide valuable insights
into the activities and lifestyles of the inhabitants. The earthworks
forming the enclosure will retain evidence about the nature of their
construction. In addition, organic remains surviving in the buried ground
surfaces beneath the banks and within the ditch will provide important
information about the local environment and the use of the surrounding
land before the enclosure was built and during its occupation.

Source: Historic England


Jones, DE, (2002)

Source: Historic England

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