Hanging Langford camp and Church-end Ring
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005602
Date first listed: 11-Jun-1956
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish: Steeple Langford
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SU 01225 35379
Banjo enclosure called ‘Church-end Ring’ and Iron Age to Romano-British aggregate village called ‘Hanging Langford Camp’.
Reasons for Designation
Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number, density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout the 20th century and to the present day. Later Iron Age and Romano-British occupation occurred widely across Cranborne Chase and included a range of settlement types. The surviving remains comprise farmsteads, hamlets, villages and hillforts, which together demonstrate an important sequence of settlement. The non-defensive enclosed farm or homestead represents the smallest and simplest of these types. There are over 50 recorded examples within the area which are thought to date to this later Iron Age and Romano-British period. Most early examples are characterised by a curvilinear enclosure with round buildings, although these are sometimes superseded by rectilinear or triangular shaped enclosures with rectilinear buildings. On Cranborne Chase, many examples were occupied over an extended period and some grew in size and complexity. Romano-British aggregate villages are nucleated settlements formed by groups of subsistence level farmsteads enclosed either individually or collectively, or with no formal boundary. Most enclosures, where they occur, are formed by curvilinear walls or banks, sometimes surrounded by ditches, and the dwellings are usually associated with pits, stock enclosures, cultivation plots and field systems, indicating a mixed farming economy. In use throughout the Roman period (c.43-450 AD), they often occupied sites of earlier agricultural settlements. Romano-British aggregate villages are a very rare monument type with examples recorded in the north of England and on the chalk down lands of Wessex and Sussex. Their degree of survival will depend upon the intensity of subsequent land use. Banjo enclosure is the term used by archaeologists for a distinctive type of prehistoric settlement. They were mostly constructed and used during the Middle Iron Age (400-100 BC), although some remained in use up to the time of the Roman Conquest (AD 43). Typical banjo enclosures have an oval or sub- rectangular central area, rarely greater than 0.4ha in size, encircled by a broad, steep-sided ditch and an external bank. There is characteristically a single entrance, approached by an avenue up to 90m long formed by out-turnings of the enclosure's ditch. The entrance to the avenue sometimes has further `antennae' ditches, giving a funnel-like appearance; or it may be connected to a transverse linear ditch. The enclosures resemble banjos when viewed in plan, hence their name. Excavated banjo enclosures have been found to contain evidence of habitation, evidence for wooden structures provided by post holes and drainage gullies, and storage and refuse pits. These features, together with the ditches, generally contain abundant artefacts, and can provide environmental evidence illustrating the landscape in which the monument was set, and the economy of its inhabitants. The enclosures are often associated with other types of Iron Age monuments, including other enclosures, field systems, trackways and other unenclosed settlement forms. Together, these monument types provide information concerning the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. Banjo enclosures are largely known from cropmarks and soil marks recorded from the air, although a few survive as earthworks. Over 200 examples are recorded nationally, the majority of which are located in Wessex and around the upper Thames Valley: particular concentrations have been noted on the chalk downland of Hampshire. Elsewhere they are very rare, with isolated examples recorded in the Midlands and the north. Despite cultivation the complex range of settlement types which are found within the banjo enclosure called ‘Church-end Ring’ and Iron Age to Romano-British aggregate village called ‘Hanging Langford Camp’ survive comparatively well and indicate prolonged settlement and agricultural activity in this area and reflect the changes in society, settlement and farming methods through time. They will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, development, the longevity of each component and their inter relationships, relative chronologies, the social organisation of the builders, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 21 September 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 banjo enclosure and Iron Age to Romano-British aggregate village situated on the upper north facing slopes of West Hill with commanding views across to the Wylye Valley and extending down into the head of a steeply sloping dry valley. The banjo enclosure lies within the valley to the north and survives as a roughly pear shaped enclosure covering approximately 1ha with a 65m long linear entrance passage aligned north to south and flanked by side ditches with wide sweeping loops which curve around to create the enclosure. Within the enclosed area are at least five round houses of between 5m and 7m in diameter internally and partial excavations has produced evidence of Iron Age settlement including pottery from the ditch fills. To the south and on the flanks of the hill are the complex earthworks associated with the aggregate village of Hanging Langford Camp, which was in the past thought to represent a form of hillfort. This is now re-interpreted as a series of at least three non defensive settlement enclosures or farmsteads aligned roughly north to south together with part of their associated field system. The earliest enclosure is roughly square in plan, covers about 1ha and is defined by a bank with internal ditch and has a complex eastern entrance with a hollow way. The second is much larger, approximately 2ha and defined by a ditch. It has two simple gap entrances and contains numerous internal depressions and platforms indicating settlement. The third is the furthest south and is differentially defined by a ditch with slight external bank in part and elsewhere by double ditches with a medial berm. It has a simple gap entrance. This area has also produced Early Iron Age, Iron Age and Romano-British finds including pottery and a quern which indicate a prolonged occupation and possibly complex development which is based largely on agriculture.
Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity some are scheduled separately but others are not included because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: WI 450
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape 214496; Wiltshire HER SU03NW201 and SU03NW202
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