Oliver Cromwell's Battery: Iron Age enclosure reused as a Civil War battery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008724

Date first listed: 14-Jul-1933

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Aug-1995


Ordnance survey map of Oliver Cromwell's Battery: Iron Age enclosure reused as a Civil War battery
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: Winchester (District Authority)

Parish: Olivers Battery

National Grid Reference: SU 45892 27865


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Civil War batteries are one of several types of fieldwork raised during military operations between 1642 and 1645. The fieldworks consisted of banks and ditches, which may have been reinforced with revetting and palisades, of varying complexity. Civil War fieldworks are recorded widely throughout England, with concentrations in the main areas of campaigning. The circumstances and cost of their construction may be referred to in contemporary historical documents. Batteries with an offensive function, as this one had, were designed to dominate defensive positions and to contain the besieged areas. The site of the Iron Age enclosure and later Civil War battery at Oliver Cromwell's Battery is well-preserved despite surrounding modern development. Partial excavation has confirmed that the site contains archaeological deposits relating to the construction and use of the enclosure, to human activity pre-dating its construction and to the subsequent history of the site.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes an Iron Age enclosure later reused as a Civil War battery, situated on the crest of a ridge c.2.5km south west of Winchester. The sub-rectangular earthwork has maximum internal dimensions of 75m (north to south) by 66m. A bank extends around the western, northern and eastern sides of the earthwork, but is poorly preserved or absent along its southern side. At the north and north east, the bank rises up to 1m above the level of the interior and is flanked by an external ditch, up to 8m wide and cut to between 0.7m and 1.5m below the top of the bank. The eastern side of the earthwork is marked by the bank only, which rises up to 1.2m above the level of the adjacent road and between 0.2m and 0.4m above the interior. The south side consists of an intermittent, undulating bank, not more than 0.65m above the external ground level and with an internal fall of no more than 0.15m. There are no visible features in the interior. A bank and ditch which formerly extended south eastwards from the south west corner of the site have been destroyed by modern building. Excavation of the bank and ditch occurred in the 1930s. The evidence from this excavation has been interpreted as suggesting that the earthwork was constructed in the Iron Age but that it did not remain long in use. The earthwork is thought to have had two opposed entrances at the east and west sides, although these are not now visible. The interior of the site was not examined. Artefacts of earlier and Iron Age activity were also found during the excavation, including a Neolithic axe from the chalk making up the bank, and Iron Age pottery from soil buried beneath the bank. However, with the exception of a large spread of charcoal associated with the pottery, no features were recognised. A single Anglo-Saxon inhumation burial was also found during the excavation, the grave cut into the bank at the north east corner of the site. Grave goods, including a silver-pommelled scramasax (a single edged sword or dagger), an iron spearhead and a bronze hanging bowl, were found accompanying the burial. Reuse of the earthwork is thought to have occurred during the Civil War. Cromwell is known to have had two batteries outside Winchester during the siege of the city in 1645, one to the north and one to the west, and it has been suggested that this was the site of the western battery. Finds of 17th century date were found during the 1930s excavations, but no structural evidence was recovered. The site was also used to quarter allied troops during the Napoleonic and First World Wars. Excluded from the monument are the logs, which make up a childrens play area, wooden benches and seats and the concrete bases of the latter, telegraph poles and sign-posts, but the ground beneath them 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: 24330

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Andrew, W J, 'Proc Hants Field Club' in Report on the first excavations at Oliver's Battery, in 1930, , Vol. 12, (1934), 5-9
Andrew, W J, Report on the first excavations at Oliver's Battery, in 1931, 1934,
Andrew, W J, Report on the first excavations at Oliver's Battery, in 1931, 1934,
Ordnance Survey , SU 42NE 25, (1961)

End of official listing