Large multivallate hillfort called Fosbury.
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. They are rare and important for understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period. The large multivallate hillfort called Fosbury survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, territorial, strategic and economic significance, social organisation, trade, agricultural practices, industrial and commercial activity, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 25 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. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.
This monument includes a large multivallate hillfort situated on the summit of Knolls Down the eastern spur of a prominent and steeply sloping ridge called Haydown Hill overlooking the dry valleys of Conholt Bottom and Hipperscombe Bottom. The hillfort survives as a roughly oval enclosure covering approximately 16ha and defined by two closely spaced and concentric rampart banks with a medial ditch and a partial interior quarry ditch which is most visible to the south. The interior measures approximately 430m long by 330m wide. The inner rampart bank is up to 3m high, the medial ditch 4m deep and the outer bank 2m high and these defences have an overall width of some 40m. The interior contains numerous surface undulations and circular features including pits which range from 1m to 4m in diameter and up to 0.5m deep and a circular ring bank of 9m in diameter and 0.3m high surrounded by a similarly sized outer ditch, which has been interpreted as a tree ring. Over the years several stray finds of burnt flint, possible sling stones and Iron Age pottery have been made. There are five entrances, although only one to the east has a distinct in-turned nature and seems definitely original. The hillfort has several alternative local names including ‘Haydon Hill Castle’ and ‘Knoll Ditches’.