Bradley promontory fort above Beechbrook 50m south of Beechmill House
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Sep-2019 at 06:23:50.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SJ 53937 76798
Reasons for Designation
Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally
defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more
earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it
from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by
steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings
defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches
formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected
along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an
entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively
for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone-
walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings
used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally
Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth
century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with
other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status,
probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest
that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display
as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded
examples. In view of their rarity and their importance in the understanding of
the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are considered nationally
Despite having been ploughed, the promontory fort at Bradley survives reasonably well and will retain significant information on the form and construction of the rampart as well as the manner in which the interior was used. It is one of a small group of promontory forts in Cheshire.
The monument includes a univallate (single rampart) promontory fort
overlooking the valley of the River Weaver at Bradley. The fort is situated on
the edge of the sandstone ridge which bisects the county from Frodsham on the
north side to the Welsh border near Wrexham.
The fort is on a spur on the steep south bank of the brook which flows into
the Weaver. Unusually it is situated below the high ground to the east. The
fields slope down to the fort on the south side and there is a single ditch
and bank constructed in a semicircle to defend the spur. The defences on the
north east and north west are formed by the very steep sides of the spur
overlooking the valley.
The outer ditch and rampart are very degraded, the result of ploughing in the
past, and the distance between the front of the ditch and rear of the rampart
is 80m. There is no indication of an entrance, but a gully in the side of the
hollow way on the north west side may be the way into the interior. On the
east side of the defences and in the next field the hedge boundary appears to
incorporate the original bank and ditch.
This is one of a small group of promontory forts in Cheshire and is the
smallest of them. The interior is 0.61ha in extent.
The surface of the lane on the west side is excluded from the scheduling where
it clips the monument at the north west corner, although the ground beneath is
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Longley, D, Prehistoric Sites in Cheshire, (1979), 48
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