Knollbury camp hillfort


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


Ordnance survey map of Knollbury camp hillfort
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Oxfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 31636 23012

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 the interior and part of the rampart on the south east side having been reduced by cultivation, Knollbury camp survives as a good example of its class. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.


The monument includes the remains of Knollbury camp, a roughly rectangular univallate hillfort, aligned north west-south east and situated 800m north west of Upper Court Farm, Chadlington. The hillfort occupies gently sloping ground just above the spring line. There are three known springs within 300m of the monument. The defences consist of a single steep sided rampart built of piled earth and oolite stone rubble behind a dry stone revetment of larger limestone slabs. This wall is visible through the turf in several sections along the north east side of the enclosure. The rampart measures around 10m wide and stands between 1.5m and 4m high. The area enclosed by the rampart measures roughly 150m from north west-south east and 100m from north east-south west. There are no entrances through the rampart on either the north east, north west or south west sides but there is believed to be an original entrance in the centre of the south east (downhill) facing side. This has been obscured by later gaps cut through this side to allow access to the interior from the south and east. The central entrance has also been widened in a later period to create a broader level access to the field inside the hillfort. Cultivation has also levelled the interior of the hillfort. Surrounding the rampart, but no longer visible at ground level, is a defensive quarry ditch which has become infilled over time as a result of cultivation. However, this will survive buried below the modern ground level and, like the rampart, measures about 10m across. The boundary wall and the surface of the road which run along the south west side of the hillfort are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath both of these features 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
A History of the County of Oxfordshire, (1907), 317
PRN 1548, C.A.O., Rectangular Enclosure - Hillfort, (1984)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SP 32 SW
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10560 Series Source Date: 1923 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SP 32 SW


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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