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St Catherine's Hill hillfort

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: St Catherine's Hill hillfort

List entry Number: 1016489

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: Winchester

District Type: District Authority

Parish:

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 30-Nov-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jul-1999

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 31165

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen. The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by outworks. 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. Large univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north. Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual components. In view of the rarity of large univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron Age society, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

The large univallate hillfort on St Catherines Hill survives well, and part excavation has indicated that it retains archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument, its later use, and the landscape in which it was constructed. The chapel and mizmaze represent unusual associations, the maze being a rare example of its type.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a large univallate hillfort situated on a steep sided chalk hill overlooking the Itchen Navigation Canal to the west, the city of Winchester to the north west and Twyford Down to the south east. The hillfort defences completely enclose the rounded hilltop, forming a north-south aligned, oval shaped interior area of approximately 9ha. The defences are relatively uniform, surviving around the perimeter as a large rampart up to 7.5m high flanked by an outer ditch up to 2m deep and a low, ill-defined counterscarp bank. They follow the natural contour of the hilltop and climb in elevation to the north east where the hill forms a low saddle to Twyford Down. At this point there is access to the interior by way of an original entrance formed by a causewayed gap through the splayed ends of the counterscarp bank and the inturned ends of the ramparts. Up to six additional gaps in the defences are the result of more recent tracks and paths. Part excavations in 1927 and 1928 indicated that the hilltop had originally formed an unfortified Iron Age settlement, dated at 550-450 BC, before the defences were constructed at around 250-200 BC. The original wide entrance through the ramparts was revetted with timber and included guard houses set in bays in the ramparts on either side. It was then altered during the second century BC, narrowing the entrance passage and strengthening the revetment with chalk blocks, before the site was abandoned at or shortly after 50 BC. The excavations recovered pits, ditches and artefacts covering the whole range of occupation of the site. A magnetometer survey conducted by English Heritage in 1997 indicates that further buried remains associated with the original use of the monument, including traces of round house dwellings, compounds, granaries and pits, can be expected to survive within the interior of the hillfort. The excavations also recovered buried remains relating to the later use of the monument including Roman pottery and coins, dated to the first to third centuries AD, and a medieval, Norman style chapel built at the summit of the hill prior to the middle of the 12th century. The location of the chapel remains are surrounded by a number of associated medieval earthworks, including boundary ditches, rubbish pits, chalk extraction pits and a possible cemetery. Post-medieval use of the hillfort is represented by a small mizmaze situated inside the entrance which is thought to have been originally cut between 1647 and 1710 and then recut to a different pattern between 1830 and 1840. A ditched enclosure to the north of the hillfort and a probable woodland enclosure to the east of the hillfort, both of probable medieval date, are also included in the scheduling. The modern fences, brushwood hurdles, footpaths and steps which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling, 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Hawkes, C F C, Stevens, C G, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Saint Catharine's Hill Winchester, , Vol. 11, (1930)
Hawkes, C F C, Stevens, C G, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Saint Catharine's Hill Winchester, , Vol. 11, (1930), 191-258
Hawkes, C F C, Stevens, C G, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Saint Catharine's Hill Winchester, , Vol. 11, (1930), 231
Hawkes, C F C, Stevens, C G, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Saint Catharine's Hill Winchester, , Vol. 11, (1930), 230-31
Hawkes, C F C, Stevens, C G, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Saint Catharine's Hill Winchester, , Vol. 11, (1930), 232-3
Hawkes, C F C, Stevens, C G, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Saint Catharine's Hill Winchester, , Vol. 11, (1930), 227-30
Hawkes, C F C, Stevens, C G, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Saint Catharine's Hill Winchester, , Vol. 11, (1930), 269-80
Hawkes, C F C, Stevens, C G, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Saint Catharine's Hill Winchester, , Vol. 11, (1930), 229-30

National Grid Reference: SU 48403 27683

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Apr-2018 at 06:02:04.

End of official listing