Dolbury Hillfort, 230m North of Killerton House
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1017192
Date first listed: 30-Aug-1972
Date of most recent amendment: 26-Jan-2018
Statutory Address: Killerton Park, Broadclyst, Exeter, EX5 3LE
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Statutory Address: Killerton Park, Broadclyst, Exeter, EX5 3LE
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: East Devon (District Authority)
Parish: Broad Clyst
National Grid Reference: SS9733600433
A slight univallate hillfort and associated defended enclosure, of probable Iron Age date.
Reasons for Designation
Dolbury Hillfort, a univallate hillfort constructed during the Iron Age, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
Survival: * It survives well, despite some modification and obscuring of its features due to tree planting in the C18 and quarrying, and is unusual in having been provided with a well-defended secondary enclosure which is almost as large in area as the hillfort itself. Rarity: * Although a major class of hillfort in the Devon, slight univallate hillforts are rare nationally, and they are of importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities. Potential: * It will retain evidence for the date and method of its construction as well as the lives of its inhabitants, contributing to our knowledge and understanding of the social organisation of the area during the prehistoric period. Historic interest: * The interest of the fort is enhanced by its adaptation and inclusion within parkland (Registered at Grade II*, sections of the park pales are scheduled) associated with Killerton House (Grade II*).
Dolbury Hillfort is a slight univallate hillfort which was constructed during the prehistoric period. 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 to fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. They 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 inturned ramparts. Internal features include timber or stone round houses; storage pits and hearths; stake holes and gullies; also the post holes of square or rectangular buildings interpreted as raised granaries.
The area was recorded as 'Dulleberi' in 1201 (Quinnell, 1990) and, although the hillfort itself is not depicted, the name 'Dolberry' appears on a 1756 map of Killerton. A deer park was established at Killerton sometime during the post-medieval period and a mid-C18 estate map depicts the hillfort within the boundary of the deer park. During the late C18 a landscape park was laid out to form the setting for a new mansion at Killerton at which time the hillfort was heavily planted with trees, including the creation of Killerton Clump (on the higher ground of the hillfort) which was planted with beech. The hillfort appears to have been first described in the mid-C19 when the ‘remains of ramparts of various parts’ were noted by Henry Woollcombe and its western half is depicted as ‘Camp (Remains of)’ on the first edition Ordnance Survey map published in 1889. There are no records of archaeological excavations at the hillfort. In the early C21 an assessment of lidar-derived images and aerial photograph interpretive survey as part of the National Mapping Programme project (see Sources) identified further earthworks associated with the hillfort's southern defences.
The monument includes Dolbury Hillfort, a slight univallate hillfort with an associated defended enclosure, probably dating to the Iron Age period. It occupies the higher, southern end of a long knoll which overlooks the River Culm to the north.
DESCRIPTION The hillfort has an irregular oval plan, and its defences which utilise with some modification, the natural slope of the hill, are strengthened by a rampart and ditch on the western side, and enclose a level area of about 2.2ha. Occupying slightly lower ground to the west is a well-defended enclosure built after the completion of the hillfort itself. The earliest defended area of the hillfort has an easy approach only from the west where artificial defences were provided. These comprised a single rampart and ditch which survive as a flat-topped bank 1m wide, fronted by an angled slope 4m wide and a ditch 3m wide; of the latter only a faint depression remains as it has been largely infilled over the years. Elsewhere, the naturally-occurring steep slopes appear to have provided an adequate defence requiring only scarping in places to enhance their effectiveness. Adjoining the hillfort on its western side, and enclosing a further area of approximately 2ha, is an enclosure which is still considered to be prehistoric in origin, however, it is clearly somewhat later in construction than the original hillfort to the east as its artificial defences can be seen to intrude upon those of the earlier work. They comprise a rampart with an average width of 2.3m fronted by a ditch 3m wide with a steep-angled slope which reaches a maximum distance of 11m between the ditch and the top of the rampart where the defences survive best on the western and north-western sides. There is a faint trace of a counterscarp beyond the outer rim of the ditch. An entrance 5.5m wide, but known to have been widened in modern times, leads into the enclosure from the north. The absence of any completion of the circuit of this second enclosure on its eastern side, where it partly intrudes within the defences of the hillfort, suggests that the intention may have been to create a single larger enclosure rather than for the newer enclosure to entirely replace the earlier hillfort. This is further evidenced by the presence of slight earthworks, visible on lidar-derived imagery, which define the southern edge of the hillfort and appear to connect the two enclosures.
EXCLUSIONS All fencing and fence posts, gateways, guideposts and the surfaces of pathways are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 29690
Legacy System: RSM
Devon & Dartmoor Historic Environment Record, MDV1312 Dolbury Hillfort, Killerton
Hegarty, C, Knight, S and Sims, R, 2016, East and Mid Devon River Catchments, National Mapping Programme Survey
National Trust, 2000, Killerton Estate Archaeological Survey, Part 1. The Park and Garden
Quinnell, N V, September 1990, Killerton Park – Dolbury Hill Fort
South West Archaeology Ltd, February 2016, The Deerpark, Killrton, Broadclyst, Devon. Results of a Desk-Based Assessment and Walkover Survey
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