Clearbury Ring

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1005691

Date first listed: 10-Mar-1925

Map

Ordnance survey map of Clearbury Ring
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Downton

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Odstock

National Grid Reference: SU 15250 24404

Summary

Slight univallate hillfort called Clearbury Ring 1320m north-west of Charlton Manor Farm.

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. Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth to fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counter scarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways, while more elaborate features, like overlapping ramparts and outworks, are limited to a few examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight univallate hillforts are rare, with around 150 examples recorded nationally and spread from Devon to eastern England and the Welsh Marches. Wessex represents one of several areas noted for a relative density of these sites, and within Cranborne Chase they form one of a range of different classes within the notable concentration of hillforts identified. They are important for understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities. Despite past cultivation the slight univallate hillfort called Clearbury Ring 1320m north-west of Charlton Manor Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, territorial, social, economic and strategic significance, agricultural practices, trade, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.

Details

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 slight univallate hillfort situated on the summit of a ridge on Clearbury Down overlooking the wide valley of the River Avon. The hillfort survives as a roughly oval enclosure covering approximately 3.4ha and defined by a rampart, ditch and slight counterscarp bank which are preserved differentially throughout the circuit. Best preserved to the west the rampart is up to 14m wide and 2m high internally, the ditch is 8m wide and 1.7m deep and the counterscarp bank is very slight. The hillfort is crossed by the parish boundary between Downton and Odstock. There is a simple north-west entrance. Stray finds of flints and charcoal have been made.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: WI 76

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

Sources

Other
PastScape 217879
Wiltshire HER SU12SE200

End of official listing