Iron Age defended settlement, Furzebury Brake


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


Ordnance survey map of Iron Age defended settlement, Furzebury Brake
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 29-Feb-2020 at 13:31:03.


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

West Somerset (District Authority)
Minehead Without
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SS 93590 48299

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.

The enclosure on Furzebury Brake survives as a good example of its class, and despite damage to the ramparts will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction and use, and to the occupation of the interior.


The monument includes a small univallate enclosure representing an Iron Age defended settlement, situated on a slight knoll at the end of a ridge. The ground slopes away to the cliffs above the Bristol Channel to the north, and to the edge of a steep combe on the east and south. The enclosure is oval-shaped, with an internal area of 0.22ha. It is enclosed by a bank up to 0.5m high internally and a ditch up to 0.5m deep, which are heightened by the slope to form a defence of up to 1.8m high. The earthworks have been much damaged so that the bank is missing in places and the ditch only faintly visible except on the east. Of the three breaks in the rampart, that to the north appears most likely to be original, whilst those on the north east and west are probably later. The interior of the enclosure is naturally higher than the surrounding ground, but slopes down to the north, leaving the highest point of the knoll slightly off-centre in the south east of the enclosure. This appears to have been levelled, creating a vaguely circular platform of about half the diameter of the enclosure. Excluded from the scheduling are all modern fence posts, although the ground beneath 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.

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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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