Nordy Bank: a slight univallate hillfort 400m north east of New House Farm
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008390
Date first listed: 20-Jun-1934
Date of most recent amendment: 17-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)
Parish: Clee St. Margaret
National Grid Reference: SO 57579 84701
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. In view of the rarity of slight
univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition
between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive
comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further
archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.
Nordy Bank slight univallate hillfort survives well despite some disturbance in its south east quarter and is a good example of its class. The interior will contain archaeological features and other evidence relating to the occupation of the hillfort. Similarly the perimeter defences will preserve archaeological material relating to the construction and occupation of the site. Environmental material relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed and the economy of its inhabitants, will survive in the ditch fills and on the old land surface sealed beneath the ramparts.
The monument includes the remains of a slight univallate hillfort which
occupies a strong defensive position on Nordy Bank, the western tip of a spur
of highground running west from the main plateau of Brown Clee Hill. The
hillfort is roughly oval in plan, the earthworks having maximum dimensions of
some 260m east to west by 198m north to south and enclosing an area of
approximately 3.2ha. The defences include a substantial and well
defined rampart averaging 1.5m high around all but the east side, where it is
up to 2.8m high. The outer face averages 4.2m in height, falling to an outer
ditch varying between 8m and 5m wide and averaging 1.5m deep. The line of the
ditch is disturbed around the south east quarter of the site where later
surface quarrying has encroached onto the earthworks. There are five entrances
to the interior of the enclosure, two of which appear to be original features.
The main entrance is believed to lie at the north east corner of the hillfort
facing the natural approach along the ridge top. Here the northern section of
ditch is interrupted by a causeway across the ditch 9m wide. The rampart is
also interrupted at this point, although the entrance gap is only 3m wide and
offset from the line of the causeway, slightly to the north. Such offsetting
was designed to deflect any direct approach to the interior of the site,
particularly by mounted attackers. Both sides of the rampart curve slightly
inwards to create a simple inturned entrance. A broadening and lowering of the
ramparts flanking this entrance suggest that guard house structures once
controlled this gateway. The strong defensive engineering at this entrance
reflects an awareness of vulnerability to attack from the rising ground to the
south east. A second entrance lies approximately midway along the south side,
here again the ditch is interrupted by an unexecuted section rather than
crossed by a made-up causeway and the ramparts curve very slightly inwards to
form an entrance gap 3m wide. This entrance lies above a steep south slope
which would have made attack from this direction difficult, there is therefore
less emphasis on defence at this gate though it is thought to be an original
feature. Three other entrances through the rampart lie midway along the west
side, midway along the north side, and in the south east quarter. All appear
modern; the rampart having been pushed into the ditch to form a causeway. The
gap in the south east corner is probably associated with the surface quarrying
which has damaged the ditch for a length of 50m as well as a small length of
the rampart and a part of the interior.
The interior of the site is divided into two main areas; a raised level
area in the east and a lower area, also level, in the west, reflecting the
natural topography. Along the inner side of the south rampart the surface
appears to have been slightly scooped to form a shallow hollow 15m wide and
0.3m deep. This hollow is believed to be the result of surface scraping to
provide material for the construction of the low inner bank around this side.
Within the rampart the interior surface shows extensive, though slight,
irregularities which indicate the survival of buried remains of structures
relating to the occupation of the site. These are particularly clear in the
north west quarter of the site, where a rectangular building platform 8m
square can be recognised linked to a curving scarp 0.3m high. Two low turf-
covered mounds can also be recognised in this area, the more westerly is 5m in
diameter and 0.4m high, the more northerly 3m in diameter and 0.2m high. They
are thought to represent clearance cairns. The slopes of the hill below the
hillfort around all sides show evidence of bell-pits and linear opencast
mines. These medieval and later features are worthy of note but are not
included within the scheduling.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 10 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: 19137
Legacy System: RSM
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