Slight univallate hillfort on Swinhope Hill 430m north west of Glen Innes House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018839

Date first listed: 21-Jan-1999


Ordnance survey map of Slight univallate hillfort on Swinhope Hill 430m north west of Glen Innes House
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: East Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Binbrook

National Grid Reference: TF 21085 94672


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.

Although the hillfort on Swinhope Hill has been reduced by ploughing it is otherwise undisturbed. The fills of the buried ditches and other features will retain valuable archaeological deposits relating to the date of its construction, its period of use and its function. Organic material preserved in the same contexts will provide evidence of the diet and lifestyle of the hillfort's builders and may illustrate the nature of the landscape in which the monument was set.


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


The monument includes the buried remains of a slight univallate hillfort constructed during the Iron Age in a prominent position on Swinhope Hill. Situated 430m north west of Glen Innes House, above the steep sided valley of the Waithe Beck, the hillfort commands a clear view both of the valley and the river's natural crossing point at its head.

Although the hillfort is no longer visible on the ground, it can be seen from the air and has been recorded on aerial photographs since 1976. The photographs show a series of cropmarks (areas of enhanced crop growth resulting from higher levels of moisture retained by the fills of the buried features) representing the infilled perimeter ditch of the hillfort itself together with an external enclosure abutting the north eastern side. This enclosure is also included in the scheduling.

The area of the hillfort is defined by a single roughly `D' shaped ditch measuring a maximum of 120m long by 90m wide overall. The upcast from this ditch would have been used to construct an internal bank which, reduced by ploughing, is no longer visible on the ground. On the eastern side the ditch turns inward to form a funnel shaped entrance. This is thought to have been the original access point to the enclosure. The funnel shape would have facilitated the driving of livestock into the enclosure and would have rendered potential raiders vulnerable to attack from both sides. To the north east the ditch is broken by a slight causeway. This may be a later adaptation intended to provide quicker access to the smaller, rectilinear enclosure which abuts this side. The enclosure, which is approximately 42m long by up to 35m wide, may have been a paddock or stock pen.

The aerial evidence indicates that, whilst the hillfort may have had various functions, including seasonal corralling of stock or acting as a temporary refuge, there may also be a period of more permanent occupation. This is suggested by cropmark features representing the remains of pits, possible internal divisions and at least one round house measuring some 10m in diameter.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 29730

Legacy System: RSM


oblique monochrome print, Everson P, 2922/17, (1976)
oblique monochrome print, Everson P, PLE 2922/19, (1976)
oblique monochrome print, St Joseph J K, AGE 31, (1962)
oblique monochrome print, St Joseph J K, BYW 93, (1976)
oblique monochrome print, St Joseph J K, BZT 67, (1976)

End of official listing