Castle Hill medieval ringwork, Hunworth


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017672

Date first listed: 04-Dec-1924

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Jan-1998


Ordnance survey map of Castle Hill medieval ringwork, Hunworth
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Nov-2018 at 10:42:18.


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

County: Norfolk

District: North Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Stody

National Grid Reference: TG 07249 35248


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

Reasons for Designation

Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements. They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60 with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular significance to our understanding of the period.

The ringwork on Castle Hill, Hunworth is one of only five examples recognized in Norfolk and the site, dominating the adjacent village and commanding two crossings of the River Glaven is typical of this type of monument. The earthworks survive well, and limited excavations have demonstrated that they retain archaeological information relating to the construction of the monument. Remains of features such as buildings are also likely to be preserved in the interior of the enclosure, and evidence for earlier land use and activities preceding the construction of the earthworks will survive in soils buried beneath the inner bank and counterscarp.


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


The monument includes a medieval ringwork, prominently situated on a glacial spur of sand and gravel overlooking the village of Hunworth to the south west and commanding two crossings of the River Glaven. To the east, south and south west, where the river bends sharply around the foot of the spur, the ground drops steeply to the valley 15m below, but to the north it slopes more gently to a slight hollow. The ringwork, which has an overall diameter of approximately 95m, occupies the highest part of the spur and is visible as a penannular earthwork enclosure surrounded by an inner bank, a ditch and a slight counterscarp bank. On the north west side a hollowed causeway across the ditch and corresponding gaps in the inner bank and counterscarp bank mark the site of what is believed to be an original entrance. The inner bank is most clearly defined on the north and east side of the enclosure, where it stands to a height of up to 1.5m above the level of the ground surface in the interior and measures about 15m wide at the base. During limited excavations conducted by the Norfolk Research Committee in 1965, the inner face of the bank on the east side was examined and traces of a possible timber revetment observed, backed by the remains of a bank of turf which may have been constructed as part of the preliminary marking out of the enclosure. The counterscarp bank remains visible on the north, north east and south west sides of the enclosure and is about 0.5m in height, although on all but the east side the ground drops away steeply below it. The ditch remains open to a depth of between 0.6m and 1.3m below the level of the counterscarp bank except on the south and part of the west side, where it is marked only by a slight ledge in the natural slope. The excavation in 1965 established that on the north side of the enclosure it was originally about 2.9m deep with steeply sloping sides and a flat bottom 3.3m wide. The lower part had become infilled with gravel from the inner bank not very long after construction, which suggests that the ringwork may have been in use for only a short period of time.

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: 21440

Legacy System: RSM


Green, B & Taylor, M C, Trial excavation of an Earthwork at Castle Hill, Hunworth, 1996, Typescript in SMR file
OS 69/038/72-73,

End of official listing