Rowberrow Camp: an Iron Age defended settlement north west of Tynings Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008806

Date first listed: 31-Mar-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Aug-1994


Ordnance survey map of Rowberrow Camp: an Iron Age defended settlement north west of Tynings Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. 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: Somerset

District: Sedgemoor (District Authority)

Parish: Shipham

National Grid Reference: ST 46442 56836


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

Reasons for Designation

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were constructed and occupied in south-western England. At the top of the settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group. Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south-western England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are likely to be identified as nationally important.

In addition to settlement sites, some defended enclosures of this period had only temporary or seasonal occupation, or functioned primarily as stock enclosures. Rowberrow Camp survives as a good example of its class, with another similar enclosure situated 700m to the west.


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


The monument includes a sub-square enclosure representing an Iron Age defended settlement set on a hillside towards the head of a steep valley. The enclosure is formed of a bank 0.5m high internally and external ditch up to 0.75m deep, defining a rectilinear enclosure with rounded corners containing 0.36ha. of ground on a south west facing slope. On the lower side the bank is absent. The enclosure is on a concave slope, the ground at the top being extremely steep. There are three gaps in the earthworks; on the west and south east where a modern track crosses the enclosure, and on the south west corner. Those gaps associated with the track are now c.10m wide, but, particularly on the west, may contain elements of original entrances to the enclosure. The gap on the south west corner is c.2m wide and poorly defined. The enclosure would originally have had one, or possibly two, entrances. The situation of this site near the head of a valley leading up onto the hills suggests that it functioned as part of a stock enclosure. There is a broadly similar enclosure 0.7km to the west near the head of an adjoining valley.

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: 24023

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing