Ellisfield camp W of Upper Common
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1001918
Date first listed: 17-Sep-1936
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Basingstoke and Deane (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SU 62960 45334
Earthwork called Ellisfield Camp 200m west of Honeysuckle Barn.
Reasons for Designation
The earthwork called Old Ellisfield Camp forms a visible feature in the landscape. Although its origin is not certain it is considered most likely to be a Civil War fieldwork. English Civil War fieldworks are earthworks which were raised during military operations between 1642 and 1645 to provide temporary protection for infantry or to act as gun emplacements. The earthworks, which may have been reinforced with revetting and palisades, consisted of banks and ditches and varied in complexity from simple breastworks to complex systems of banks and inter-connected trenches. They can be recognised today as surviving earthworks or as crop- or soil-marks on aerial photographs. The circumstances and cost of their construction may be referred to in contemporary historical documents. Fieldworks are recorded widely throughout England with concentrations in the main areas of campaigning. Those with a defensive function were often sited to protect settlements or their approaches. Those with an offensive function were designed to dominate defensive positions and to contain the besieged areas. There are some 150 surviving examples of fieldworks recorded nationally. All examples which survive well and/or represent particular forms of construction are identified as nationally important.
Despite some disturbance through ploughing within the interior of the enclosure, the earthwork called Old Ellisfield Camp survives well. Although its origin is not certain, the form and nature of the earthworks are of national importance. It has not been excavated and retains a high degree of potential for archaeological investigation. It will contain below-ground archaeological and environmental information relating to its construction and use, as well as the landscape in which it was built.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 30 July 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes an earthwork, traditionally known as ‘Ellisfield Camp’, situated on a gentle south-east facing slope on a spur of land, which overlooks Lower Common. The enclosure is broadly rectangular in shape, orientated NNW to SSE, except that the south and west sides, and to a lesser extent the north side, are drawn inwards towards the centre. It is approximately 185m long by 140m wide. The corners are rounded and the enclosure is delimited by a bank with external ditch. The bank is generally about 1.5m high above the interior and the ditch is about 2m deep. However at the corners the bank is higher and the ditch is deeper. There is an entrance halfway along the southern side denoted by a break in the bank and a corresponding causeway across the ditch.
The earthwork is of uncertain origin and there are wide-ranging local traditions including that it was an Iron Age univallate hillfort, a Roman occupation site, it was built by Scandinavian settlers or is a motte and bailey castle. The north-east corner is marked as ‘Site of Castle’ on Ordnance Survey maps of 1872, 1896 and 1910 (1:2500). Concentrations of flint have been observed on the top of the bank in this location in the past. However the lack of any entrenchment at this corner would suggest that a castle here is unlikely. Given the form of the earthwork, particularly the bastion-like appearance of the corners, it is considered most likely to be a Civil War fieldwork.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: HA 107
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Hampshire HER 20287. NMR SU64NW22. PastScape 240004,
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing