Civil War artillery fieldwork 370m NNW of Park Farm, Cornbury Park


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011225

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Sep-1993


Ordnance survey map of Civil War artillery fieldwork 370m NNW of Park Farm, Cornbury Park
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Dec-2018 at 07:57:05.


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

County: Oxfordshire

District: West Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Cornbury and Wychwood

National Grid Reference: SP 35699 18296


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

Reasons for Designation

English Civil War fieldworks are earthworks which were raised during military operations between 1642 and 1645 to provide temporary protection for infantry or to act as gun emplacements. The earthworks, which may have been reinforced with revetting and palisades, consisted of banks and ditches and varied in complexity from simple breastworks to complex systems of banks and inter- connected trenches. They can be recognised today as surviving earthworks or as crop- or soil-marks on aerial photographs. The circumstances and cost of their construction may be referred to in contemporary historical documents. Fieldworks are recorded widely throughout England with concentrations in the main areas of campaigning. Those with a defensive function were often sited to protect settlements or their approaches. Those with an offensive function were designed to dominate defensive positions and to contain the besieged areas. There are some 150 surviving examples of fieldworks recorded nationally. All examples which survive well and/or represent particular forms of construction are identified as nationally important. The artillery fieldwork in Cornbury Park has survived remarkably well and provides the best known published example of its type. It has remained largely intact and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built. In addition, it forms part of a larger system of fortifications which extend beyond Cornbury Park to provide a line of defences north of Oxford, the king's headquarters during much of the Civil War.


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


The monument includes a well-preserved English Civil War artillery emplacement known as a fieldwork or battery, situated on a slope overlooking the River Evenlode, 370m NNW of Park Farm, Cornbury. The fieldwork has a bank, outer ditch and counter scarp bank on the west, east and south sides, defining a square area c.32m across. It is not known whether the north side of the monument was defined by similar earthworks or whether this was originally open. Where visible, the inner bank measures between 4m and 6m across and stands up to 1m above the original ground level. The ditch is between 5m and 6m wide and, although partially infilled, measures up to 1m deep on the south side. The counterscarp bank survives on all three sides and is between 2m and 3m wide and 0.5m high. The southern inner bank is pierced in two places where gun embrasures were located. These embrasures allowed guns to be fired across the ditch from the safety of the protected inner platform. The western embrasure is still clearly visible while the eastern one has been widened and the bank material dumped into the ditch to form a modern entrance to the site. Within the interior is a hollow depression 18.2m across from east-west and 10m across from north-south. This depression has suffered some erosion of its sides but is c.1.5m deep. This is believed to represent an area quarried to provide extra material for the banks protecting the battery, and also to add protection to the centre of the fieldwork where vulnerable stores of gunpowder and other ordnance would have been kept. The fieldwork is situated on a slope overlooking the River Evenlode on its eastern flank and a former entrance to Cornbury Park to the west and provides a field of fire across the approaches to the estate from the south and the two crossings of the River Evenlode. Historically, Cornbury House is known to have been owned by the Royalist Henry Danvers, Earl of Danby, who was a determined supporter of the king despite the strong Parliamentarian allegiance of his brother Sir John Danby. Although the history of the period is unclear until the estate was occupied for Parliament by Fairfax in October 1646, it appears that a Royalist garrison was present in the park and would have formed an important strong-point between two important communication routes from Oxford; these were used by the king in 1644 and 1645. Cornbury would have provided an outer defence to the north of Oxford, along with Woodstock Manor House and Bletchingdon Manor. Some 250m south of the battery is a series of more extensive earthworks, which form the subject of a separate scheduling. Together these monuments appear to form part of an extensive system of fortifications around Cornbury House. Excluded from the scheduling are the boundary fences to the north, west and south of the monument where they fall within the area of the scheduling but the ground beneath all of these fences 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: 21783

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Varley, F J, Siege of Oxford
O'Neil, B H S, 'Oxoniensia' in A Civil War Battery at Cornbury Oxfordshire, , Vol. X, (1945), pp73-77
Toynbee, MR, 'Oxoniensia' in Historical Note, , Vol. X, (1945), p77
Title: Ordnance Survey 6" XXV, NE Source Date: 1945 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Vertical's, R.C.H.M.(E) National Library of Air Photo's, Numerous, (1945)

End of official listing