Brandon Camp large univallate hillfort and ring ditch 350m north east of Warwick House.
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1011016
Date first listed: 28-Nov-1934
Date of most recent amendment: 17-Jul-1995
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SO 40018 72389
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Reasons for Designation
Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying
shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and
surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions.
They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used
between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for
earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the
ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on
such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with
display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of
redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen.
The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of
slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may
survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and
between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or
two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned
ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the
passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by
outworks. 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. Large
univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded
nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the
chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is
marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further
examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north.
Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in
their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual
components. In view of the rarity of large univallate hillforts and their
importance in understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron
Age society, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed
to be of national importance.
Brandon Camp large univallate hillfort survives well and is a good example of its class. The defences will contain important archaeological evidence concerning their method of construction and evidence for the sequence of occupation on the site. The interior of the site is believed from aerial photography to contain evidence of structures and of occupation, including three circular ring ditches. Exploratory excavations of these features in 1985, comprising two small trenches cut across the line of the larger of the three, revealed that the surrounding ditch survived as a feature up to 1.83 wide and 0.76m deep, cut into the underlying rock. No artefact finds were made. The major part of the ring ditch remains undisturbed as do the two similar smaller ring ditches. All will contain valuable archaeological evidence relating to the occupation of the hillfort. Environmental material relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed and the economy of its inhabitants will survive in the ditch fills and on the old land surface sealed beneath the ramparts. Such monuments contribute valuable information relating to the settlement pattern, social organisation and economy of the countryside during the Iron Age.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes Brandon Camp, a large univallate hillfort. The hillfort is situated on the western end of a low hill overlooking the valley of the River Teme. It is roughly triangular in plan with rounded angles and slightly curved sides and has maximum dimensions of 250m east to west by 260m north to south giving an enclosed area of approximately 3.5ha. The defences are constructed to take maximum advantage of the natural topography. They include a well defined rampart around the east and south sides of the monument which rises to a height of 5m on its outside and 2.4m on its inside. Cropmarks visible on aerial photographs show traces of three outer ditches running parallel to the east rampart which, though no longer visible as surface features, will survive as buried features with an overall width of 10m. There is a slight berm up to 3m wide below the rampart around the south side which is believed to be the remains of an infilled outer ditch. Around their north west side the defences rely largely on the natural slope of the hill which is here at its most precipitous. However, a slight berm cut into the slope 6m below the top suggests that there has been some artificial scarping of this upper portion to enhance its natural strength. There are three entrances through the defences: one approximately midway along the south side, one in the east side approximately 80m north of the south east corner and one at the northern apex of the enclosure. The southern is clearly a modern cut and both of the others have been widened making identification of the original entrance difficult. However, the northern entrance is the most likely to represent the position of the original.
Three ring ditches have been observed on aerial photography of the site; they lie in the north east quarter of the hillfort interior. The largest and most westerly surrounds a local eminence within the camp and has an overall diameter of 23m. During drought conditions in 1984 part of the ditch could be seen on the ground. Exploratory excavations in the vicinity of this feature in 1985 encountered the ditch in two trenches. It was found to average 1.83m wide and to be cut into the underlying rock to a depth varying between 0.51m and 0.76m. It was interpreted as the ditch surrounding an Iron Age house.
All fences and boundary features are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 19174
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Frere, S, 'Britannia' in Brandon Camp, (1987), 49
Frere, S, 'Britannia' in Brandon Camp, (1987), 63
Interim SMR file, Frere, S , Interim Report, (1985)
J St Joseph, Antiquity, (1979)
SMR record 1639, Interim Report,
St Joseph, Antiquity, (1979)
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