Ancient Monuments

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Small enclosed Iron Age settlement at Leigh Wood, 180m south of Leigh Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Worthen with Shelve, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.6243 / 52°37'27"N

Longitude: -2.9858 / 2°59'8"W

OS Eastings: 333367.329151

OS Northings: 303399.683266

OS Grid: SJ333033

Mapcode National: GBR B6.7RLJ

Mapcode Global: WH8C3.39GJ

Entry Name: Small enclosed Iron Age settlement at Leigh Wood, 180m south of Leigh Hall

Scheduled Date: 22 June 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021276

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34944

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, standing structural and buried remains of
a small enclosed Iron Age settlement, situated at the eastern end of the
summit of a steep-sided knoll, on the southern side of the Rea Brook valley.
From this location there are commanding views of the valley and the uplands
beyond to the north and north west.

The enclosed settlement takes the form of a sub-rectangular enclosure.
Although part of the north west side has been removed by later stone
quarrying, it is apparent that its overall dimensions were about 50m north
west-south east by 145m south west-north east. The area enclosed by the
defences would have been approximately 0.2ha. The defensive circuit comprises
a series of banks and roughly built walls constructed from blocks of stone
hewn from the adjacent ditches. The rock here is igneous and is especially
hard, and would have been very difficult to quarry. The defences at the south
western end, flanking the entranceway into the interior, consist of three
banks/walls separated by ditches and level areas, or berms. The inner bank is
the highest of the three and stands to a height of 2.2m. The inner and middle
banks/walls continue around the north western side. Each are bounded by
terraces, which mark the positions of infilled ditches. To the north these
earthworks have been removed by later quarrying. The interior of the
settlement on the south eastern side is defined by a scarp, marking the outer
face of a bank, and is bounded by an external ditch, now infilled and visible
as a slight terrace. At the north western end of the enclosure the rock has
been cut to form a second entrance passage into the settlement.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the Iron Age 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. Settlements of this type
continued to be built and occupied 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

Despite later quarrying, the small enclosed Iron Age settlement at Leigh
Wood, 180m south of Leigh Hall, is a good example of this class of monument.
In common with the other broadly contemporary settlements overlooking the Rea
Brook valley, it is considered to contain significant buried deposits,
structural features, artefactual and organic remains. These have the
potential to illustrate many aspects of life during the Iron Age. The
defences 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 ditches will provide important information about
the local environment and the use of the surrounding land before the
settlement was built and during its occupation.

Source: Historic England

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