Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Ringwork on Cam's Hill, 500m north east of Lawn Farm

A Scheduled Monument in St. Paul Malmesbury Without, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.5709 / 51°34'15"N

Longitude: -2.0872 / 2°5'14"W

OS Eastings: 394049.599742

OS Northings: 185786.72433

OS Grid: ST940857

Mapcode National: GBR 2R6.F3P

Mapcode Global: VH95S.RSX3

Entry Name: Ringwork on Cam's Hill, 500m north east of Lawn Farm

Scheduled Date: 11 June 1992

Last Amended: 22 December 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021288

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19038

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: St. Paul Malmesbury Without

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Malmesbury and Brokenborough

Church of England Diocese: Bristol


The monument includes a ringwork on Cam's Hill, set in a good strategic
position on the westerly crest of a north-south spur. This siting would
seem to have been designed to overlook the valley of the River Avon,
believed to have been an important routeway during the medieval period.
The earthwork remains comprise a strong circular enclosure bank, up to 18m
wide at base and averaging 1.8m high. This is surrounded by a substantial
ditch averaging 4m wide and 1.5m deep, giving a total diameter for the
site of some 50m. The ditch survives as an earthwork around the south and
east sides only, but is also believed to exist as a buried feature around
the north and west also.

The central area enclosed within the defences is characteristically small,
having a diameter of only 20m, an area of some 0.03ha. This interior is
raised slightly above the surrounding natural ground level to a height of
some 0.5m. The internal scarp of the enclosing bank is lowered
approximately midway along the south east quarter, representing the
position of the original entrance. There are no traces of any structures
in the interior of the enclosure.

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.

The ringwork on Cam's Hill is a particularly fine example of this type of
comparatively rare medieval earthwork. It survives in excellent condition
and offers considerable potential for the survival of primary
archaeological deposits and of environmental material. The strategic
significance of the site and its relationship to other contemporary
monuments within the vicinity, offers considerable scope for the study and
interpretation of the medieval settlement pattern and social organisation
in this area of the landscape.

Source: Historic England

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