Hilltop enclosure and hut circle on the northern end of The Lawley, 250m north of Blackhurst Farm
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008389
Date first listed: 23-May-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SO 50285 98626
Reasons for Designation
Hilltop enclosures are defined as sub-rectangular or elongated areas of
ground, usually between 10ha and 40ha in size, situated on hilltops or
plateaux and surrounded by slight univallate earthworks. They date to between
the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth-fifth centuries BC) and are usually
interpreted as stock enclosures or sites where agricultural produce was
stored. Many examples of hilltop enclosures may have developed into more
strongly defended sites later in the Iron Age period and are therefore often
difficult to recognise in their original form. The earthworks generally
consist of a bank separated from an external ditch by a level berm. Access to
the interior was generally provided by two or three entrances which consisted
of simple gaps in the rampart. Evidence for internal features is largely
dependent on excavation, and to date this has included large areas of sparsely
scattered features including post and stakeholes, hearths and pits.
Rectangular or square buildings are also evident; these are generally defined
by between four and six postholes and are thought to have supported raised
granaries. Hilltop enclosures are rare, with between 25 and 30 examples
recorded nationally. A greater number may exist but these could have been
developed into hillforts later in the Iron Age and could only be confirmed by
detailed survey or excavation. The majority of known examples are located in
two regions, on the chalk downland of Wessex and Sussex and in the Cotswolds.
More scattered examples are found in north-east Oxfordshire and north
Northamptonshire. This class of monument has not been recorded outside
England. In view of the rarity of hilltop enclosures and their importance in
understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of
The hilltop enclosure at the north end of The Lawley survives well and is a good example of this rare class of monument. The interior of the site shows evidence of a hut platform and will contain archaeological evidence relating to the occupation of the site. Environmental evidence, important to an understanding of the landscape in which the site was built and functioned, will survive on the ancient landsurfaces sealed beneath the banks and in the ditch fills. The monument is one of two probably related earthworks on the Lawley and one of several such habitation sites which occur in similar situations in this area of upland. Such sites, when considered both singly and as a group, contribute valuable information pertaining to the density of settlement and nature of land use of this area of upland during the Bronze Age and Iron Age periods.
The monument includes the remains of a small hilltop enclosure situated at the
northern end of The Lawley, a north east to south west orientated razor-backed
ridge of high ground. The earthworks were designed to use the natural
advantages of the hill to maximum effect and lie along the axis of the hill,
forming an elongated, hour-glass-shaped, enclosure with internal dimensions of
85m long by 22m wide at the widest point, 14m at the waist. The defences
comprise a crossridge bank and ditches at the north east and south west ends
of the monument linked by enhanced natural scarps. At the north east end the
cross-bank is 0.5m high on its inner, uphill, side falling 1.5m to a ditch
3.6m wide and 0.4m deep, with evidence of an outer bank 3m wide and 0.2m high.
The cross-bank is between 2m and 3m high and curves around the hillside to the
north and south to merge with the artificially steepened side slopes. The
outer ditch follows the bank curving around to both the north and south to
flank the side scarps as a berm, or terrace, 2m wide. The scarp continues
around the south west of the enclosure, where it cuts across the ridge to form
the southern cross-bank and ditch. The outer scarp is 1.7m high and falls to
an outer ditch 4m wide and 1.6m deep. There is a counterscarp bank on the
outer edge of the ditch 3m wide and 0.5m high. Midway along this side the
outer bank is interrupted and the ditch crossed by an original entrance
causeway 2.3m wide. In the north east quarter of the interior of the enclosure
is a sub-circular hut platform 7.5m in diameter. It is cut into the slope 0.2m
on its uphill, north east, side and raised 0.4m on its south, downslope, side.
Although there are no other visible indications of structures in the
relatively level interior, the buried remains of such structures are likely to
survive below ground.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 4 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 19135
Legacy System: RSM
OS card no SO59NW2, Bark, D R, (1971)
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