Group of small enclosures on Horton Down, 910m north east of Easton Down long barrow


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014561

Date first listed: 04-Jan-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 21-May-1996


Ordnance survey map of Group of small enclosures on Horton Down, 910m north east of Easton Down long barrow
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bishops Cannings

National Grid Reference: SU 07161 66577


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

Reasons for Designation

Earthen enclosures provide evidence of land use and agricultural practices in the prehistoric and Romano-British period, although later examples are also known. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to provide temporary accommodation for stock, farmers or herdsmen. The size and form of enclosures may vary considerably depending on their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and their relationship to other monument classes, including extensive field systems, provide information on the diversity and social organisation and farming practices through the period of their use. Twelve examples are recorded in the Avebury area, which acted as a focus for ceremonial and ritual activity during at least the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age periods. Later the area was settled mostly by agricultural communities, with the area intensively farmed through to the medieval period and beyond. The enclosures in the Avebury area are central to understanding the character of this development. All surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite having been levelled by cultivation, the group of enclosures on Horton Down are known from aerial photographs to survive buried below the present ground level. They will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction and the landscape in which they were built. In addition, the survival of internal enclosures within a larger rectangular enclosure makes this group unusual within the Avebury area. Many other enclosures have had their outer earthworks preserved but the interiors have been so heavily ploughed that it is impossible to determine whether or not they ever contained internal features. For this reason the survival of this group has added archaeological importance.


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


The monument includes a group of four small enclosures situated 910m north east of Easton Down long barrow on Horton Down. The enclosures lie on the east side of a ridge which runs north-south. The group, which is visible on aerial photographs, includes an oval banked enclosure, to the south and east of which lie two roughly equal sized rectangular enclosures. All three appear originally to have been located within a larger enclosure, only the north east corner of which is believed to have survived. The outer enclosure consists of a levelled bank c.3m wide and a 3m wide external ditch. This ditch has become infilled over the years as a result of cultivation but survives as a buried feature. A 70m length of the north side and 50m of the east side can clearly be plotted from aerial photographs while the remainder is no longer visible. The oval enclosure bank is visible as a slight rise 0.1m high. It measures 2m wide and originally stood at least 1m high. It is surrounded by a 3m wide ditch which has become infilled over the years and survives buried below the modern ground level. Its slight counter-scarp bank, 1m wide and up to 0.6m high, is no longer visible at ground level. The area enclosed measures roughly 40m from east-west and 25m from north-south. Immediately to the south and east are two roughly rectangular enclosures, both of which have been levelled by cultivation. Originally their banks were c.2m wide and stood up to 1m high. Surrounding the banks but now infilled, are 3m wide ditches. Both enclosures enclose areas of c.40m from north-south and 30m from east-west. The enclosure to the east has a 3m wide opening in the centre of its east side. These enclosures represent either stock enclosures or a small settlement forming part of the former agricultural economy of the Downs. Excluded from the scheduling are the fences running along the edge of the gallops and forming the boundary to the south, although the ground beneath 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: 28117

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 262
/170-171, R.C.H.M.(E), OS/73/071, (1969)
/4 4.8.67, /38 &/465 28.3.69, R.C.H.M.(E), NMR SU 0766, (1967)
SU 06 NE 010, R.C.H.M.(E), A series of oval and rectangular enclosures, (1973)
SU06NE 779, C.A.O., Group of enclosures, (1979)
Title: Ordnance Survey 6" Series Source Date: 1961 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Map

End of official listing