Cynwit Castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

Sedgemoor (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 24682 40489


Slight univallate hillfort at Cannington Park.

Reasons for Designation

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 - 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 counterscarp 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 only 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. Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh Marches, central and southern England. They are a relatively rare monument class and are important for in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities. The slight univallate hillfort at Cannington Park occupies a commanding position and the finds which have been made from it over the years indicate it has been of some significance from the Mesolithic until later prehistoric times, including possible reoccupation during the Romano British period. It was an important landmark for a considerable period and may have been the site of a later cemetery. Such a long lived and varied history indicates it will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, adaptive re-use, longevity, strategic and territorial significance, social organisation, trade, agricultural practices, settlement, possible funerary practices and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 16 July 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 slight univallate hillfort situated on the summit of a prominent rocky hill overlooking the valley of the River Parrett. Known locally as ‘Cannington Park Camp’ or ‘Gynwir’ or ‘Cynwit Castle’ the hillfort survives as an irregular shaped enclosed area of approximately 5ha defined by a slight rampart with largely buried outer ditch, rock cut in places with an entrance to the south east with projecting outworks defined by a series of terraces. The interior and ditches have been partly disturbed by later quarrying. The VCH mentions the discovery of large numbers of human skeletons here. Partial excavations by Whistler in 1905 produced Iron Age pottery and some wheel thrown vessels which Rahtz believed to be Roman and thus indicative of Roman reoccupation of an earlier hillfort. Further partial excavations in 1913 by C Bazell found some Neolithic, Beaker, Bronze Age and Iron Age pottery, flints, a brooch and revealed the original rampart to have been stone built above the surviving scarp with additional defences represented by the terraces. Other chance finds over the years have included a Bronze Age knife and Mesolithic flint implements including 54 blades or flakes, cores, scrapers and other items.


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

Legacy System number:
SO 26
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-191244, 191293 and 191299


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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