Wappenbury camp univallate hillfort and medieval settlement remains
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1009817
Date first listed: 12-Feb-1925
Date of most recent amendment: 19-May-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Warwick (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SP 37761 69244
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
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.
Although parts of the site have been modified (particularly by ploughing in the northern part of the site) Wappenbury camp survives well and is a good example of this class of monument. The interior will retain structural and artefactual evidence for the occupation of the hillfort and the rampart and ditch will retain archaeological information relating to the hillfort's construction. Partial excavation has indicated the presence of occupation deposits pre-dating the construction of Wappenbury camp and these will survive beneath the rampart. The medieval settlement remains will contain evidence of building plots and field and property boundaries; allowing an interpretation of its layout, function and date of its relationship to the Iron Age hillfort beneath.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument is situated along the northern bank of the River Leam within the
village of Wappenbury and includes a univallate hillfort, the earthwork
remains of part of a medieval settlement, and an area of ridge and furrow
Wappenbury camp occupies a prominent position on a natural knoll or plateau
above the river channel. The location of the hillfort takes advantage of the
natural scarp banks formed by both the River Leam and a tributary to the west
of the site. The defensive earthworks of Wappenbury camp include intermittent
traces of a single rampart and a ditch that has been mostly infilled. Along
the northern edge of the site, the rampart is visible as a distinctive break
in slope and is thought to have been levelled by ploughing. The associated
ditch has become infilled but it can be traced as a slight depression and will
survive as a buried feature. The western edge of the site is defined by a
scarp bank, marking the location of a rampart which remains visible at the
northern end of the scarp. A break in the western bank is thought to be part
of a drainage channel. There is no clear evidence for a ditch along the
western side of the hillfort. Along the southern edge of the hillfort the
defences include the steep-sided scarp bank formed by the river channel and a
rampart which can be traced along the crest of the bank, particularly to the
west of Leam Bank Farm. The central part of the southern rampart has been
modified by the construction of Leam Bank Farmhouse and its gardens and is not
included within the area of the scheduling. The best-preserved section of the
hillfort's defences is situated along the eastern edge of the site. The ditch
is visible as a 8m wide depression. The rampart remains visible on the ground
surface, but is thought to have been lowered during the medieval period, in
connection with farming activities. In the north east part of the site the
rampart has been modified by the road and the construction of a small pond,
which is now dry. The infilled ditch will survive as a buried feature beneath
the road. An excavation across the eastern defences indicated that the 12m
wide rampart had been constructed of sand and gravel and was revetted in clay;
the inner edge of the ditch is lined with clay. The rampart which is of later
Iron Age date seals an earlier occupation layer which has also been dated to
the Iron Age.
Access to the interior of the hillfort is by means of an inturned entrance at
the south west edge of the site. The entrance is approximately 10m wide. There
are causeways across the northern and eastern defences, but these are
considered to post-date the occupation of the hillfort. The defences enclose
an area of approximately 8ha. The central part of the interior is intensively
occupied by residential dwellings, two parish churches, agricultural buildings
and gardens. The modern development is considered to have so modified the site
in this area that it is not included within the area of the scheduling. Finds
recovered from the site include quantities of Iron Age pottery fragments, a
perforated stone hammer and a flint leaf arrowhead. Fragments of Roman pottery
and kiln debris recovered from the ditch silts and from field drains indicate
Roman activity in the vicinity of the site during the third and fourth
Within the eastern part of the hillfort's interior are the remains of part of
a medieval settlement. The rampart of Wappenbury camp defines the eastern
boundary of the settlement. The earthwork remains of the settlement include
two house platforms which have been built alongside the inner edge of the
rampart and a third platform to the north west. A hollow way is visible as a
shallow depression running east-west adjacent to the southern house platform.
A second hollow way, which is now a surfaced lane, is situated to the east of
St John the Baptist's Church. The eastern part of this hollow way survives as
a distinctive earthwork within the garden of Rivermede. This section of the
hollow way is included in the scheduling. The settlement remains provide
evidence for the reoccupation of the site during the medieval period.
Approximately 20m east of the hillfort's defences are the earthwork remains of
ridge and furrow cultivation. The ridge and furrow runs east-west and its
associated headland is visible running parallel to the eastern rampart. The
ridge and furrow is visible extending eastwards as far as the eastern field
boundary. A sample area of the field systems, adjacent to the rampart and 10m
wide, is included in the scheduling to preserve the stratigraphic
relationships both between the ridge and furrow and the settlement and between
the ridge and furrow and the underlying earlier remains.
The brick building at the eastern edge of Wappenbury camp, the garage within
the grounds of St Anne's Chapel, and Rivermede and its garage which are all
situated in the south east part of the site are excluded from the scheduling
but the ground beneath these features is included; the surfaces of the paths,
driveways and roads at the site, all fence posts, street furniture, inspection
chambers, modern walling and a telephone box are also excluded from the
scheduling but the ground beneath all 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: 21555
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
RCHME, , Wappenbury Camp, (1967)
Stanley, M, B, , 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in The Defences of the Iron Age Camp at Wappenbury, , Vol. 76, (1958), 3
Stanley, M, B, , 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in The Defences of the Iron Age Camp at Wappenbury, , Vol. 76, (1958), 1-9
Stanley, M, B, , 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in The Defences of the Iron Age Camp at Wappenbury, , Vol. 76, (1958), 9
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