Small multivallate promontory fort on Blacker's Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015493

Date first listed: 19-Dec-1929

Date of most recent amendment: 31-Jan-1997


Ordnance survey map of Small multivallate promontory fort on Blacker's Hill
© 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.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1015493 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 17-Feb-2019 at 15:49:13.


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

County: Somerset

District: Mendip (District Authority)

Parish: Chilcompton

National Grid Reference: ST 63666 50051

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.

Blacker's Hill survives as a good example of its class with upstanding earthworks.


The monument includes a promontory hillfort enclosing an area of 4.5ha on the spur of an escarpment. Earthworks define the north and west sides of the fort. The other sides of the fort relied on a steep natural scarp for defence. The earthworks, on the north and east sides, consist of a double bank and ditch. On the other two sides only the outer defence survives. The banks to the north and east are steep and up to 4m high, the intervening ditch being 2m-4m wide. The outer ditch is broader and shallower. The south and west sides of the fort relied principally on the natural scarp for defence, there is a ledge 1m-2m wide along the scarp face about 2m below the break of slope on the south west side of the fort, showing that this slope has been artificially steepened as part of the defence works. Along the southern scarp is a trackway ledge running up to the fort from an area disturbed by later quarrying. There are three entrances through the earthworks into the interior: one on the northern corner, and one half-way down each of the east and west sides. These are all associated with modern field divisions and farm access points and it is unclear if they are original. The inner bank and ditch on the northern side of the site were damaged in the 19th century when the field there was enlarged, and their course is now only visible as a slight rise and hollow. The earthworks by Blacker's Hill Farm have been reduced in height, and this is likely to have been either to provide building material for the farm or to improve the view from it. The outer ditch on the northern side is utilised as a farm trackway. Excluded from the scheduling are all modern fence posts, telegraph poles, and the made-up surface of the track to the farm, though the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 29032

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Burrow, I, Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in Somerset, (1981)
Patch, G (landowner), (1995)

End of official listing