This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Belsar's Hill ringwork

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Belsar's Hill ringwork

List entry Number: 1010368

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cambridgeshire

District: South Cambridgeshire

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Willingham

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Jan-1992

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 20418

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements. They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60 with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular significance to our understanding of the period.

Belsar's Hill is a very well preserved example of a medieval ringwork incorporated into a later medieval field system. The ringwork is well documented historically and, unusually, provides evidence of earlier use in the Prehistoric period as a fortified Iron Age site. The later medieval cultivation earthworks, which overlie the site, are an important source of information on the dating of the ringwork and will have sealed below ground remains of the interior. The remains of the field system and medieval trackway indicate the complex and changing patterns of land use in rural East Anglia throughout the medieval period.

History

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

Details

Belsar's Hill is a medieval ringwork, constructed on top of a Prehistoric enclosure and with associated remains of part of a medieval field system. The ringwork is an oval, measuring about 265m by 220m. The defences consist of an outer ditch, 10-15m wide and up to 1.5m deep, with an internal bank. Although generally dry, the ditch bottom is damp and carries a small stream along its south-east arm. The bank is up to 4m high on the north east side, falling to around 2m on the west, and is very slight on the south east side. A green lane runs across the monument on a north easterly alignment and where it crosses the perimeter of the ringwork the line of the bank and ditch can be traced as undulations about 1m deep. An entrance is located at the north east, adjacent to the lane, where there is a gap in the defences and the ditch is splayed outwards. A straight bank, 40m long and 0.5m high, flanks the east side of the entrance. A second entrance is marked by a causeway on the north side. Following the abandonment of the fortification, both the interior and exterior were incorporated into a field system. Evidence for this medieval farming activity is identified by the presence of ridges-and-furrows, both inside and outside the ringwork, which respect the perimeter of the defences and the line of the green lane. The green lane is itself a medieval trackway, bounded on each side by a low bank or headland. The track forms part of the medieval road to Ely, the `Aldreth Causeway', and the ringwork is considered to have been built as a temporary camp by William the Conqueror during the assault on that town. It is considered that the ringwork was adapted from the remains of an earlier Iron Age camp.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Taylor, A, Castles of Cambridgeshire, (1990)
'C.A.C. Annual Report, 1984-5' in C.A.C. Annual Report, 1984-5, (1985)
Other
Evans, C., CAU Excavation Report:- Arbury Banks, (1990)
Ordnance Survey , Ordnance Survey Record,
Paterson, H., EH record: file AA 40613/01, AM 107, (1983)
Taylor, A, (1991)

National Grid Reference: TL 42290 70260

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1010368 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 17-Nov-2017 at 05:47:57.

End of official listing