Three sections of medieval town boundary located to the south and west of Tutbury


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Location Description:
The earthworks are located to the south and west of the town centre.


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

Location Description:
The earthworks are located to the south and west of the town centre.
East Staffordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Three sections of medieval town boundary located to the south and west of Tutbury town centre.

Reasons for Designation

The three surviving sections of medieval town boundary, situated to the south and west of Tutbury, are scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: the medieval town boundary survives well as upstanding earthworks in three separate sections to the south and west of the town;

* Potential: it is expected that the town boundary earthworks retain buried archaeological material relating their construction, use and possible re-use, and may provide evidence for the suggested Iron Age origins of the westernmost section of earthworks;

* Documentation: the existence of a non-invasive archaeological investigation enhances our understanding and significance of the boundary;

* Group value: the town boundary has a strong functional relationship with Tutbury Castle (Scheduled and listed Grade I) and the settlement itself.


Between the Roman and post-medieval periods a large number of English towns were provided with defences. The defences could take the form of earthen banks, ditches or masonry walls, or a combination of all three. Although they were primarily constructed as a defensive measure, they also performed a number of other functions. For example, the provision of only a limited number of gateways in the circuit was sometimes important in maintaining control over the passage of merchants and tradesmen, allowing the levying of taxes on goods entering or leaving and the collection of tolls, all of which contributed to the town's economy. The medieval development of towns was closely associated with major landowners and many towns were deliberately established next to castles so that their owners could influence and gain from the important market, trade and other functions of a developing urban centre. It is believed that Tutbury originated as a planned settlement contemporary with or constructed soon after the foundation of Tutbury Castle in the late C11 with a boundary earthwork being erected around the town and physically connected to the castle at its north-western extent. It has been tentatively suggested that the westernmost section of earthworks located on the west side of Park Lane might have earlier origins, possibly being the remains of an Iron Age hillfort which was later adapted and incorporated into the line of the medieval town boundary.


Principal elements: three surviving sections of medieval town boundary, each consisting of an earthen bank and a corresponding external ditch, situated to the south and west of Tutbury town centre. It is possible that the westernmost section of earthworks might have earlier origins.

Description: the earthworks are situated in three separate areas of which the first and most substantial section lies in a pasture field on the west side of Park Lane. It comprises a substantial bank and outer ditch extending for a distance of c.113m between SK2070128802 and SK2074628716. The earthwork has a significant curve, with the northern section of the bank and ditch extending in a south-west to north-east direction before taking a considerable turn at their southern extent to continue in a north-west to south-east direction. The bank has an average width of 16m and rises to 2.12m above the base of the outer, south-western ditch, which itself measures over 8m in width.

The second section of earthworks comprises a substantial linear bank and ditch extending between SK2090728505 and SK2112028491 for a total length of c.214m, although the eastern and western extents of the feature were bisected laterally in the 1970s by Ferrers Avenue and The Park Pale, access roads for a modern housing estate. Lying within an area of open ground, with a modern playground to the north and a footpath to the south, the internal bank has a maximum width of 10.2m with the parallel external ditch measuring between 13m and 16m, with a maximum depth of 1.5m. The bank and ditch are comparatively straight, although they appear to turn slightly northwards at their eastern extent to line up with the third section of earthworks.

The thirds section of earthworks, which was cut through in the 1970s by Chatsworth Drive, consists of two sections of bank and ditch aligned south-west to north-east. Its southern section, which extends from SK2125228539 to SK2131129604, extends for 78.5m with the bank measuring 6.5m in width with a maximum height of 1.6m above the level of a modern footpath to the west. The external ditch, which lies to the south-east, is situated within the gardens of private properties and is separated from the bank by a boundary fence. The northern section is located within the grounds of the Richard Wakefield Primary school and extends between SK2131928616 and SK2133928647 for 37m. Its bank measures c.7.5m in width and has an average height of 0.8m. The depth of the ditch in this section could not be determined, but is considered to survive as a buried feature and is included in the scheduling. Exclusions: all fence posts, garden fences, road and footpath surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them is included.


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

Legacy System number:
ST 238
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Kincey, M, 'Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society Transactions' in Beyond The Pale?: A Reinterpretation Of Tutbury Park Pale Based On Non-Invasive Archaeological Earthwork Survey, , Vol. 42, (2008), 50-63
Kincey, M, Beyond the Pale? A reinterpretation of Tutbury 'Park Pale' based on a non-invasive archaeological earthwork survey , 2005,


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

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