Bradley promontory fort above Beechbrook 50m south of Beechmill House


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Bradley promontory fort above Beechbrook 50m south of Beechmill House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. 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.

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 important.

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 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.

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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

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