Liddington Castle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016312

Date first listed: 10-Mar-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Liddington Castle
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 09:00:47.


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

District: Swindon (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Liddington

National Grid Reference: SU 20888 79696


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

Reasons for Designation

Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh Marches, central and southern England. In view of the rarity of slight univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Liddington Castle hillfort survives well and is known from part excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived. In addition, it is one of a group of hillforts associated with the ancient Ridgeway trackway.


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


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort known as Liddington Castle. The hillfort, which is one of several located on or near the Ridgeway, occupies a flat plateau on the northern scarp of the Wiltshire chalklands on the summit of Liddington Hill from which there are extensive views north and west across the Thames valley and south across the Marlborough Downs.

The hillfort is oval in plan and consists of a bank, ditch and counterscarp bank following the natural contours of the hill and enclosing an internal area of approximately 3ha. There is one original entrance located on the eastern side.

The inner bank measures approximately 12m across and is up to 3m above the interior ground level. The surrounding ditch is up to 18m wide. The counterscarp bank stands up to 6m high above the ditch and is most prominent on the northern and western facing slopes.

Flint digging between 1896 and 1900 in the north east part of the hillfort revealed numerous early Iron Age finds including a bronze awl and ear-ring, spindle whorls and fragments of pottery.

A small scale excavation in 1976 found that the rampart was constructed in at least four phases, the latest being a re-fortification during the Saxon period.

Also included in the scheduling is a pillow mound located on the south eastern side of the monument adjacent to the counterscarp bank. It is aligned north east to south west and is 21m long, 8m wide and up to 0.5m high. The south eastern side of the mound has been levelled by cultivation and is not included in the scheduling.

The buried reservoir which lies to the north east of the pillow mound on the eastern side of the hillfort is not included in the scheduling. All water troughs and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath 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: 28964

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing