Chastleton Barrow camp: a hillfort south of Barrow House
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008402
Date first listed: 13-Sep-1938
Date of most recent amendment: 02-Nov-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Oxfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SP 25855 28228
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.
Chastleton Barrow camp survives well and our understanding of its construction has been enhanced by limited excavation. Excavation has also demonstrated that the site will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.
The monument includes a univallate hillfort known as Chastleton Barrow camp.
It is situated on the crown of Adlestrop Hill with clear views in all
The defences include a single rampart and outer ditch which enclose a roughly
circular area up to 130m across. This area slopes slightly from south to north
and is otherwise flat, except for a number of modern circular earthworks
created by stock activity around cattle feeders.
The rampart is constructed of stone with a rubble core faced with a drystone
wall. Although much of this rampart is now covered by soil and tree roots, the
wall remains visible at a number of points around the circuit, especially at
the north western entrance where several courses of walling are visible. A
second entrance cuts the defences to the south east and these formed the
original means of access to the interior.
The rampart measures up to 14m across and stands up to 4m high to the west
although the average height is c.2m. The two entrances are both c.3.5m wide.
The surrounding ditch served the dual function of enhancing the defences and
also provided material for the construction of the rampart. It has become
largely infilled due to cultivation over the years but survives largely as a
buried feature c.14m wide. A faint surface trace can be seen on the eastern
side of the monument where water leaking from a reservoir lies in a hollow
created by the subsidence of the ditch fill.
The monument was partially excavated in 1881 when a section across the
rampart confirmed its stone construction and also produced finds including
burnt animal bone and prehistoric pottery fragments.
Excluded from the scheduling are the wooden and corrugated iron fodder store,
its surrounding fence and the fences running around the inside and the outside
of the rampart; also excluded is the water reservoir on the eastern side of
the monument and the trench containing its supply pipe; however, the ground
beneath and around all of these features is included in the scheduling.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 21791
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
'A History of the County of Oxfordshire' in Chastleton Camp, , Vol. ii, (), 312-313
Sutton, J E G, 'Oxoniensia' in Iron Age Hillforts and Other Earthworks in Oxon., , Vol. XXXI, (1966), 35-36
PRN 1468, CAO, HILL FORT, CHASTLETON, (1975)
with CHILDS, K. & SCHOFIELD, A.J., JEFFERY, P.P., On Site Discussion Between MPP Staff, (1993)
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