Nordy Bank: a slight univallate hillfort 400m north east of New House Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
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.

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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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