Farway Castle earthwork enclosure


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

East Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SY 16063 95499

Reasons for Designation

The size and form of Iron Age enclosed settlements vary considerably from single farmsteads up to large semi-urban oppida. Farmsteads are generally represented by curvilinear enclosures containing evidence of a small group of circular domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. Where excavated, these sites are also found to contain storage pits for grain and other produce, evidence of an organised and efficient farming system. The surrounding enclosures would have provided protection against cattle rustling and tribal raiding. In central southern England, most enclosed Iron Age farmsteads are situated in areas which are now under intensive arable cultivation. As a result, although some examples survive with upstanding earthworks, the majority have been recorded as crop- and soil-marks appearing on aerial photographs.

Farway Castle survives as a substantial earthwork despite some superficial modification, and its degree of survival is unusual for this class of monument. It also has no clear local parallels. It lies in close proximity to the round barrow cemetery on Farway Hill which comprises the central area of one of the most extensive and densest concentrations of Bronze Age (2000- 700 BC) burial mounds in Devon. The monument and its relationship with the barrows constitutes a valuable archaeological resource for understanding prehistoric land use patterns in east Devon.


The monument includes Farway Castle, an earthwork enclosure identified as an Iron Age farmstead situated in south east Devon 8km south of Honiton on the high ground of an extensive Greensand plateau where it forms the watershed of the south-flowing River Sid. The monument is sited within a plantation of trees on a wide ridge of level ground. It includes a large circular enclosure of some 53m diameter created by a bank with an external ditch. The bank is 7.5m in overall width and 0.5m-0.8m in height above the internal ground surface. It has a gradual inner slope, a flat top, and a steep outer face falling directly into the ditch. The ditch is between 2m and 4m in width and 0.5m deep, with a gradual outer slope. It is subject to seasonal waterlogging in the south west quadrant. The circuit of the enclosure is complete, with no breaks in the bank, or causeways across the ditch. The overall diameter of the monument is c.76m. The earliest known reference to the monument is in an inventory of the mid-18th century compiled by Dean Milles. It was also recorded in 1868 by Kirwan. The earthwork appears to have been modified, and one or more entrances were destroyed when the bank was converted into a continuous field boundary in the 18th or 19th centuries to separate a new plantation of trees from surrounding heathland. Some of the larger round barrows in the vicinity have also been modified, and have supporting documentary evidence of their reuse. The enclosure lies adjacent to the round barrow cemetery on Farway Hill. A bronze palstave was found in the vicinity of the enclosure in the 19th century. Within the protected area all fence posts are excluded from the monument, although the ground beneath them 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.

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Books and journals
Kirwan, R, 'Report of the Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Memoir of the Examination of Three Barrows at Broad Down, Farway, , Vol. 2, (1868), 619-649
Simpson, S, Noble, S, 'Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report' in Archaeological Survey & Management Study of Areas of E Devon, , Vol. 93.38, (1993)


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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