Medieval enclosure known as Damery Camp, 125m south west of Michaelwood Cottage.
Reasons for Designation
The medieval enclosure has been classified as a possible ringwork and these 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. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements.
The alternative interpretation is an animal pound and the word ‘pound’ is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word `pund' meaning enclosure, and is used to describe stock-proof areas for confining stray or illegally pastured stock and legally-kept animals rounded up at certain times of the year from areas of common grazing. The earliest documentary references to pounds date from the 12th century and they continued to be constructed and used throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods. Animal pounds are usually located in villages or towns though some lie in more open locations, particularly on the edge of old woodlands and commons. Construction methods vary and they generally enclose areas ranging from 4m by 6m to over 0.5ha. The walls are normally about 1.5m high, although greater heights are not uncommon as attempts to prevent poundbreach. Animal pounds are widely distributed throughout England, with particular concentrations in the west and Midlands. About 250 examples are known to survive in fair condition, with perhaps another 150 examples recorded either as remains, or from documentary evidence alone. Pounds illustrate a specialised aspect of past social organisation and animal husbandry, and reflect the use and former appearance of the surrounding landscape.
Despite some debate as to its definition the medieval enclosure 125m south west of Michaelwood Cottage will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, date, function, longevity, social and strategic significance and overall landscape context, its function will provide valuable information regarding the land use in this area in the past and it may reflect adaptive re-use.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 September 2015. 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 a medieval enclosure situated on the ridge directly above the northern valley side of the Little Avon River and overlooking a natural river crossing at Damery. The enclosure survives as a roughly oval shaped interior covering approximately 1.25ha defined by a partially buried ditch and an outer bank of up to 2m high. Many theories surround this monument although all agree it is medieval in origin, its excellent strategic position has led some to define it as a ringwork, a type of early medieval castle and the name ‘Old Castle’ would appear to confirm this. However, the main drawback is the position of the ditch on the inside of the rampart which appears to proscribe its potential defensive efficacy and be more indicative of the desire to retain what is being kept on the inside. This suggests the enclosure might be a stock enclosure or animal pound of some kind. In the northern section is earthwork evidence for a small building which may have been the pound-keeper’s shelter, although the enclosure is unusually large for the average animal pound.