Soldier's Ring


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017900

Date first listed: 24-Nov-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Mar-1998


Ordnance survey map of Soldier's Ring
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Jan-2019 at 10:52:50.


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

County: Hampshire

District: New Forest (District Authority)

Parish: Damerham

National Grid Reference: SU 08217 17567


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

Reasons for Designation

Soldier's Ring belongs to a class of rare and poorly understood monuments known as large polygons or kite-shaped enclosures. Only a few examples are known in South or Central Wessex, all of which are thought to belong to the late Roman period, although they bear similarities to earlier Iron Age and later medieval enclosures. Their size and form may vary considerably depending on their particular function. Where situated in non-defensive locations, they are usually constructed in order to enclose a valley head with water sources and were probably used as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing. They provide evidence of land use and agricultural practices during the Romano-British period and all surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. The enclosure and associated earthworks of Soldier's Ring can be expected to retain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to their original construction and subsequent use as well as the earlier prehistoric use of the landscape. A Bronze Age ring ditch lies 55m to the east and an Iron Age and Romano-British settlement with associated hollow ways and trackways lies 250m to the north east. Much of the adjacent archaeological landscape of Blackheath Down and the surrounding area, including Martin Down and Tidpit Common Down, is preserved as earthworks or crop-marks of numerous classes of monument of Bronze Age and later date. Their close association will provide a detailed understanding of the nature and development of the early use of downland for ritual, agricultural and settlement purposes.


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


The monument includes Soldier's Ring, a large, polygonal or kite-shaped earthwork enclosure, probably of Romano-British date, situated across the shallow bottom of Blackheath Down. The regular earthworks completely enclose an area of about 10.5ha of gently sloping and flat land, embracing two valleys rising from the Allen River to the north east. The earthworks survive around most of the perimeter as a pair of banks, 11m- 13m across, separated by a ditch and berm. They have been constructed in straight sections joined at sharp angles. The inner bank stands 0.5m-0.9m above the interior and 0.7m-1.1m above the ditch bottom while the outer bank is generally constructed on higher, rising ground and stands 0.9m-1.2m above the ditch bottom and 0.3m-0.5m above the exterior except where levelled by ploughing on the west side. Both banks rise markedly towards the corners. The berm forms a 1m-2m wide terrace between the ditch and outer bank except where it is disturbed by a vehicle track which passes between the banks along most of the north side and where a modern pond has been constructed between the banks at the north west corner. Traces of an infilled outer ditch are visible at the eastern end of the northeast side. A geophysical survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England also indicates the presence of an outer ditch on the south and south east sides. An original entrance is probably situated at the lowest point of the site on the north east side, now much widened by its use as a farm gate although traces of the outer bank remain visible across much of its width. Early plans of the enclosure indicate a narrow gap passing obliquely through the earthworks. A number of other gaps around the perimeter of the enclosure are the result of later use including the rumoured use of the site as a golf course. The interior of the site has been much disturbed by ploughing. A previously recorded narrow enclosure, 65m by 18m, near the entrance has now been levelled. Earlier use of the interior of the monument is indicated by subrectangular Celtic fields formed by lynchets standing to 1m high, some of which pass beneath the perimeter earthworks to the south and south east and form part of an extensive field system predating the enclosure. Later use of the interior of the monument is indicated by the broad ridges of medieval or post-medieval ploughing which are most substantial in the western half of the enclosure. All posts and associated fencing and gates, animal troughs and the modern well located between the banks near the entrance are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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.


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

Legacy System number: 31160

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bowen, H C, Eagles, B N (ed), The archaeology of Bokerley Dyke, (1990), 52-57
Bowen, H C, Eagles, B N (ed), The archaeology of Bokerley Dyke, (1990), 57
Colt Hoare, R, The Ancient History of Wiltshire: Volume I, (1812), 234
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of Cranborne Chase, (1913), 39
Williams-Freeman, JP, Introduction to field archaeology as illustrated by Hampshire, (1915), 197 409
Crawford, O G S and Keiller, A, Wessex from the Air, (1928)
Plate IX, Crawford, O.G.S., Air Survey and Archaeology, (1924)

End of official listing