Multi-period site on Minchinhampton Common


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


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

Stroud (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 86247 01225

Reasons for Designation

Minchinhampton Common is unusual in preserving in good condition a landscape which contains a wide range of monuments dating from the Prehistoric period to the Second World War. The Common has been the site of Prehistoric fields and defensive sites, medieval and post-medieval roads, hollow ways and turnpike systems, medieval and post-medieval quarrying, a post-medieval warren and World War II defences. Besides containing monuments which are of national importance in their own right, for example The Bulwarks, the Iron Age bank and ditch at Amberley and the post-medieval warren, Minchinhampton Common is important in preserving the relationships between a variety of different types of monument of varying date. Although archaeological landscapes such as this are known in a number of locations, they are generally located in remote upland situations. Minchinhampton Common, by virtue of its continuing status as common land, has survived between two villages (Amberley and Minchinhampton) in an area of high agricultural pressure. Apart from the Prehistoric field system, which primarily survives as a cropmark site only visible from the air, the monuments survive as upstanding earthworks. The site therefore has high potential for the recovery of archaeological and environmental information relating to all periods between later prehistory and the present day.


The monument includes sites of several periods ranging in date from the Late Prehistoric period to the present day and which represent the changing land-use on Minchinhampton Common through time. It includes the following: (SO86440125 to SO87250112) The Bulwarks: an Iron Age bank and ditch: The linear bank is 10m to 12m wide and c.1.5m high at its highest point. A ditch 10m wide and c.1.2m deep runs parallel to the bank on its eastern side. A partial excavation in 1937 by Mrs Clifford demonstrated that the bank had a stone revetment on the side facing the ditch. Pottery from beneath the bank and in the primary fill of the ditch suggest a Late Iron Age date for its construction.

(SO85290143 to SO85140125) Iron Age bank and ditch 180m northeast of Holy Trinity Church, Amberley: This comprises a linear bank and ditch orientated northeast to southwest. The bank is 16m wide and c.1.3m high at its highest point. A ditch 5m wide and c.1.5m deep runs parallel to the bank on its eastern side. Finds of Late Iron Age pottery were reported from under the bank and in the primary fill of the ditch.

(SO85800070 and SO85700010) Prehistoric field system: A system of at least twelve rectangular fields defined by banks following a gently curving course and ranging in size from 0.4 to 0.6 hectares. The banks are 4m wide and c.0.2m high with the exception of the southern terminal bank which is 6m wide and c.0.4m high.

(SO85110158 to SO85160088) Amberley Camp: a medieval enclosure defined by a linear bank running in an arc from north to south with a ditch to its eastern side. The bank is 6m wide and c.1m high at its highest point. The ditch, where visible, is 1m wide and c.0.5m deep in the southern portion of the enclosure and 2m wide and c.0.3m deep in the north. A partial excavation by Mrs Clifford in 1937 demonstrated that the bank was stone-built, probably originally revetted with turf.

(SO84150081 to SO85590065) Pinfarthings enclosure: a medieval enclosure defined by a continuous linear bank and ditch running in a semi-circular line from the Amberley enclosure at the northwest to a point where it meets a trackway. The bank is 8m wide and c.0.1m high at the northwestern end and 6m wide and c.0.2m high towards the east. The ditch, where visible is 5m wide and c.0.2m deep.

(SO85670089; SO85500072; SO85350045) Evidence for medieval cultivation comprising a series of shallow parallel ridges and furrows representing a short-lived episode of arable cultivation on the Common.

(SO85360083 centred) Post-medieval rabbit warren including approximately forty-nine pillow mounds, eight rabbit buries, two vermin traps, the former warrener's house and the warren boundary.

The pillow mounds survive as square- or round-ended earthen mounds ranging from 13m long by 8m wide and c.0.1m high to 71m long by 16m wide and c.1.0m high. Most mounds are orientated northwest to southeast. The pillow mounds are flanked by slight ditches 2m wide and c.0.1m deep.

The rabbit buries are all round mounds ranging from 11m to 14m in diameter and c.0.3m to 0.5m high. The buries have slight surrounding ditches c.2m wide and c.0.1m deep.

The two vermin traps survive as banks and ditches, one `X'-shaped, the other `V'-shaped. The `X'-shaped trap is 22m long and 18m wide with low banks 1.5m wide and c.0.3m high; shallow ditches occur on the north and south sides of the banks. There is a gap at the centre of the cross-pieces where the trap would have been placed. The `V'-shaped trap has two banks 12m long by 2m wide and c.0.1m high with a gap at the point for the trap.

The warren boundary is a linear bank and ditch orientated northwest to southeast. The bank varies from 3m to 4m wide and c.0.3m to 0.5m high. The external ditch has been largely infilled but survives as a slight depression 2m wide and c.0.1m deep.

The rabbit warren is first mentioned in an account of the poaching of a rabbit from the warren in 1823. However it is probable that the warren originated before this date, most likely between the 16th and 17th centuries when the construction of warrens reached its peak. This dating would be supported by the building and naming of the `Old Lodge' house in the 17th century.

(SO87180107) `The Park': the remains of a post-medieval landscape park comprising a park ditch, a tree enclosure and an avenue which replaced an earlier medieval deerpark first mentioned in documents of 1176. (SO85420080) A system of medieval trackways and hollow ways and the post-medieval Cirencester to Stroud turnpike road which all cross the Common and reflect both changes in the use of the Common and the requirements of the roadways.

(SO85420080) Evidence for stone quarrying, including thirty-seven areas of former quarries ranging in size from 10m to 250m long by 5m to 80m wide and c.0.3m to 10m deep.

(SO87200110) World War II camp in `The Park' surviving as a rectangular earthwork defined by a low bank 8m wide and c.0.2m high with two raised platforms c.50m square and c.0.3m high located at the southeast corner. Within the camp a series of rectangular areas are defined by very slight ditches. Aerial photographs taken during World War II show the military camp in existence.

(SO85420080) Other World War II features on the Common include twenty-two anti-glider trenches ranging from Im to 6m wide and 50m to 380m long and two slit trenches.

The monument also includes the former bowling green, the Minchinhampton Golf Club and a standing stone known as `Tom Long's post'.

The Old Lodge Inn (a Grade II listed building), the Minchinhampton Golf Club clubhouse, a mile-stone at SO86800127 and the system of modern roads on the Common are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included. The covered reservoir is totally excluded from the monument.

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


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Russett, V, Report on the Archaeology of Minchinhampton Common, (1990)
ARG 85, CUAP, (ARG85),
Clifford, (1937)
Clifford, (1961)
Cox, (1965)
Dennison, E, Monument Class Description: Warrens, (1988)
GRO D 1265, (GRO D 1265),
GRO Q/PC 2/42/B, GRO Q/PC 2/42/B, (1823)
Playne, (1872)
Pugh, (1976)
RAF 3G.TUD.UK 102/5155, RAF, 3G.TUD.UK 102/5155, (1945)
RAF/541/189/3336-3337, RAF, (1948)
Raymond, F, Monument Class Description: Regular Aggregate Field Systems, (1987)
Russett, V, (1984)
Swan, (1975)
Swar, (1975)
Trow, S D, (1982)
Viner, D, (1979)
Watson, (1932)
Watson, (1932)


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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