Burrough Iron Age hill fort


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012441

Date first listed: 04-Dec-1924

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Jul-1992


Ordnance survey map of Burrough Iron Age hill fort
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Melton (District Authority)

Parish: Burton and Dalby

County: Leicestershire

District: Melton (District Authority)

Parish: Somerby

National Grid Reference: SK 76056 11945


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 often include round-houses as well as small rectangular and square structures supported by four to six postholes and interpreted as raised granaries. When excavated, the interior areas exhibit a high density of features, including post- and stakeholes, gullies, floors, pits, hearths and roads. 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 potential are believed to be of national importance.

Burrough Hill is the finest example of a large univallate hillfort in Leicestershire and has a long period of occupation proved by excavation. It retains a complete circuit of ramparts and a well preserved inturned entrance.


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


The monument at Burrough lies 7km south of Melton Mowbray and includes a large Prehistoric hillfort situated on a prominent limestone hill. The land falls away on every side except the east, producing an easily defended hillfort location.

The hill is topped by an almost continuous rampart built of stone and covered in turf. The rampart stands up to 2m high internally, enclosing a level sub-rectangular area of about 5ha. An inturned entrance stands on the south-east side and is formed by 2m high banks inturning for some 35m. A second original entrance lies at the south-west corner where the rampart bank continues outside the enclosure for some 50m. The rampart contains several further breaks, some of which are the result of later activity. On the north side there is a counterscarp bank 5-6m below the top of the rampart bank. Excavations at Burrough Hill have revealed that the inturned gateway had a cobbled road running through it and a stone guard-house on the south side with post-holes indicating part of a gate structure. Pits have also been excavated in which Iron Age and Roman pottery have been found. Finds from the site indicate a long period of occupation ranging from the early Bronze Age continuing well into the Roman period.

Excluded from the scheduling are a toposcope and stone approach steps in the south-west corner and an ordnance survey pillar on the eastern side of the site. The ground beneath these features is included. The site today has free public access.

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: 17088

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Brown, A E, Simpson, D D A, 'Transactions of the Leicestershire Arch and Historical Society' in Burrough Hill, , Vol. 43, (1968), 61
Thomas, S E, Burrough-on-the-Hill, Transactions of the Leicestershire Arch and Historical Society, (1960)

End of official listing