Iron Age cliff castle and site of St George's churchyard on East Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011086

Date first listed: 11-Dec-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Feb-1994


Ordnance survey map of Iron Age cliff castle and site of St George's churchyard on East Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. 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 - 1011086 .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 24-Jan-2019 at 08:49:59.


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

County: East Sussex

District: Hastings (District Authority)

National Grid Reference: TQ 83297 09930


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

Reasons for Designation

Cliff castles are coastal promontories adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more ramparts placed across the neck of a spur. Promontories chosen generally end in steep cliffs on the seaward side though examples are known to occur inland, overlooking river valleys or estuaries, or situated on low coastal cliffs. They are mostly of Iron Age date and were generally abandoned by the middle of the 1st century AD. Of the fifty examples recorded to date in England, nearly all occur in Devon and Cornwall, though isolated examples do occur elsewhere, for example in the south-east. The majority of sites are located on the north Cornish coast and around the Lizard Penisula. Cliff castles are thought to have served similar purposes to defended hilltop enclosures in inland locations. Some show evidence for permanent occupation but others may have served as temporary refuges or to protect stock and agricultural produce. In view of the relative rarity of this class of monument and its importance in understanding the distribution of Iron Age communities prior to and during the early years of the Roman occupation, all surviving examples are thought to be worthy of protection. The example on East Hill is one of only very few outside south-west England, in an area where other types of hillfort predominate. Its bank survives well and the presence of the hornwork is unusual. The presence of St George's churchyard is evidence for the continued use of the hill following the end of the Iron Age.


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


The monument includes the earthworks and internal area of an Iron Age cliff castle, defended by steep cliffs on three sides, and within which is St George's churchyard, first referred to in 1291. The cliff castle measures overall some 450m NE-SW by 200m NW-SE. To the south-west, an artificially steepened line marks the limits of the site. The principal earthwork defences were on the north-east side, where a natural ridge was enhanced to form a bank up to 30m in width and some 4m high which cut off the promontory from the ground to the east. This bank may have been accompanied by a ditch on its east side though there is currently no evidence for this surviving. The bank is breached near its centre by an original entrance aligned obliquely. It has been breached in other places since the site's abandonment, most noticeably some 30m from the cliff edge to allow for a coastal footpath. Extending south-eastwards from the original entrance is an outer earthen bank and ditch, or hornwork, which formed an additional defence. This earthwork, up to 40m in width, has been spread to a greater extent than the principal bank, but its ditch is still visible on its north-east side. The outline of St George's churchyard is marked by an approximately rectangular raised area 85m by 50m around which is a bank which reaches 2m in height. It is now believed that there is no evidence for a church ever having been present on the site. The visible internal divisions relate to the use of the area for allotment gardens. All road surfaces, modern structures and service trenches are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

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: 12870

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing