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Beacon Castle, South Down

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Beacon Castle, South Down

List entry Number: 1002540

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: North Devon

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Martinhoe

County: Devon

District: North Devon

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Parracombe

National Park: EXMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 18-Jul-1961

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

UID: DV 471

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

An Iron Age defended settlement called Beacon Castle.

Reasons for Designation

Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south western peninsula of England. In contrast to the others, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little excavation of its monuments. However, detailed survey work by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England has confirmed a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day.

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were constructed and occupied in south western England. At the top of the settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group. Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south western England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period.

Despite some early partial excavation or stone robbing and disturbance through cultivation the Iron Age defended settlement called Beacon Castle survives well and will contain important archaeological end environmental evidence relating to its construction, use, agricultural practices and defended settlement patterns in the vicinity as well as its landscape context through changing climatic conditions.

History

See Details.

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 November 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 an Iron Age defended settlement called Beacon Castle situated below the summit of a prominent hill called South Down overlooking the valleys of the River Heddon and one of its major tributaries. The defended settlement survives as an oval enclosure measuring 58m long by 55m wide internally defined by a single rampart and outer ditch. The rampart measures up to 6.7m wide and 1.6m high. The ditch survives as a partially buried feature and measures up to 4m wide and 0.5m deep. The original entrance was to the west. The whole enclosure is bisected by a parish boundary bank which measures up to 2.6m wide and 0.5m high. This is one of a group of similar monuments in the vicinity which are the subject of separate schedulings.

Selected Sources

Other
PastScape Monument No:-34621

National Grid Reference: SS 66459 46010

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1002540 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2017 at 07:46:06.

End of official listing