Multivallate hillfort at Bury Bank


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


Ordnance survey map of Multivallate hillfort at Bury Bank
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Stafford (District Authority)
Stone Rural
National Grid Reference:
SJ 88227 35936

Reasons for Designation

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

The hillfort at Bury Bank survives well and represents a good example of this class of monument. Buried features and artefactual evidence associated with the occupation and development of the hillfort will survive within the site's defensive ramparts and interior. These internal features and the defensive ditch will retain environmental evidence relating to the economy of the site's inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived. Despite partial excavation, the two barrows survive well and will retain information for the character and duration of their use, and for the environment in which they were created.


The monument occupies the upper slopes of a small hog-backed hill, approximately 50m west of Bury Bank Farm and includes an Iron Age multivallate hillfort and two barrows. The hillfort's size and shape are determined by the form of the hill which has a domed summit falling away sharply on the north west, south east and west sides. The defensive earthworks include traces of an inner rampart and ditch, beyond which, are intermittent traces of a second rampart. The inner rampart is visible as a slight earthwork, no more than 0.7m above the interior of the hillfort, although traces of a shallow internal quarry ditch suggest that it was originally higher. The quarry ditch has become infilled over the years, but survives as a buried feature. The outer face of the inner rampart appears greater in height due to the profile of the ditch above which it sits. In the north west part of the site the inner rampart is only 0.3m high, but externally it falls approximately 2m onto the natural hillside. An excavation across the inner rampart in 1892 indicated that the earthwork is built of earth and rubble stone. The ditch itself, is, in effect, a massive terracing and steepening of the natural hillside. The outer rampart has been formed by the spoil removed from the ditch and was originally built up above the level of the ditch, but its crest has been largely degraded. It measures approximately 20m across its base. In the south west part of the site the outer rampart has been partly modified by a modern access track and some of its length has been damaged by quarrying. Access into the interior of the hillfort is by means of an inturned, or funnel, entrance at the northern end of the western defences. The interior has an elongated plan and includes an area of approximately 2.2ha. Although no internal earthworks associated with the hillfort's occupation are visible, the buried remains of internal structures will survive beneath the ground surface. Two barrows are visible within the southern part of the hillfort's interior. The southernmost barrow stands to a height of 2.2m and has a diameter of up to 25m. Although no longer visible at ground level, a ditch, from which material was quarried during the construction of the barrow, surrounds the mound. The ditch has become infilled over the years but survives as a buried feature, approximately 3m wide. Partial excavation of the barrow has recovered charcoal and bone fragments. Immediately to the north west of this mound is a second barrow, the mound of which, is 0.5m high and has a diameter of 17m. The barrow was investigated during the 19th century. All fence posts and the telegraph poles and support cables are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Garner, R, Natural History of Staffordshire, (1860), 5
Lynam, C, The Victoria History of the County of Staffordshire, (1908)
Plot, R, The Natural History of Staffordshire, (1686)
RCHME, , Bury Bank, (1992)
Toulmin-Smith, L, The Itinerary of John Leland, 1535-43, (1908)
Meeson, R A,
RCHME, Bury Bank SJ83NE1, (1992)


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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