Large multivallate hillfort and long barrow on Willersey Hill 410m north-east of Farrcombe House.
Reasons for Designation
Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between 5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection of the power struggle between competing elites. Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts, oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered, for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fence lines, hearths and ovens. Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture occurred on many sites. Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere. In view of the rarity of large multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of national importance. Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 examples of long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded nationally. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be nationally important. Despite some quarrying and landscaping the large multivallate hillfort and long barrow on Willersey Hill 410m north east of Farrcombe House survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, longevity, trade, agricultural practices, social organisation, territorial significance, domestic arrangements, the ritual and funerary practices associated with the long barrow and interrelationship between the two types of monument and their overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 1 June 2015. This 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.
This monument includes a large multivallate hillfort and a long barrow situated on the summit and upper north facing slopes of a prominent plateau which forms part of the Cotswold Escarpment overlooking several tributaries to the Broadway Brook. The hillfort survives differentially as earthworks throughout the circuit but is basically formed by a double rampart bank with medial ditch which in places are upstanding earthworks whilst elsewhere they survive as entirely buried features giving the appearance of single banks, scarps and combinations of such features on all except the south side where only the inner bank is preserved. It encloses an area of approximately 32ha. The interior has been disturbed by landscaping for a golf course and quarrying. Excavations for the construction of a hotel in 1978 outside the ramparts located the skeletons of an adult male and child and one on the golf course in 1987 found a boundary ditch measuring up to 3.3m wide and 1.3m deep. Within the hillfort is a long barrow which survives as a rectangular mound measuring approximately 42m long, 12m wide and 0.7m high the side ditches are preserved as entirely buried features. Partial excavations in 1884 produced the internal stone walling of previously disturbed chambers, human and animal bones, pottery and flint flakes. A Roman road lies immediately to the east of the hillfort (Ryknild Street) and the hillfort straddles the more recent county boundary of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.