Castlezens multiple enclosure fort


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019743

Date first listed: 25-Oct-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Mar-2001


Ordnance survey map of Castlezens multiple enclosure fort
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Veryan

National Grid Reference: SW 92967 42179


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

Reasons for Designation

Multiple enclosure forts comprise an inner and one or more outer enclosed areas, together measuring up to c.10ha, and defined by sub-circular or sub- rectangular earthworks spaced at intervals which exceed 15m; the inner enclosure is usually entirely surrounded by a bank and ditch. The forts date mainly to the Late Iron Age (350 BC-c.AD 50) and in England usually occur in the south west. Most are sited on hillslopes overlooked by higher ground near a water supply, and many were apparently used for periods of up to 250 years. The outer enclosures of the forts are usually interpreted as areas set aside for the containment of livestock, whilst the inner enclosures are generally thought to have been the focus of occupation. The earthworks usually include a bank with an outer V-shaped ditch 1m-3m deep. Entrances are generally single gaps through each line of defence, often aligned to create a passage from the outer to the inner enclosure, although there are a few examples where entrances through successive earthworks are not in alignment. Occasionally the interval between the gaps is marked by inturned ramparts or low banks and ditches, while the outer entrance may be screened by a short length of earthwork. Excavations within the inner enclosures have revealed a range of buildings and structures, including circular structures, hearths, ovens and cobbled surfaces as well as occasional small pits and large depressions which may have functioned as watering holes. Multiple enclosure forts are relatively rare with only around 75 examples recorded in England, mostly in Devon and Cornwall. Outside these counties their distribution becomes increasingly scattered and the form and construction methods more varied. They are important for the study of settlement and stock management in the later prehistoric period, and most well-preserved examples will be identified as being of national importance.

The Castlezens multiple enclosure fort in this scheduling survives reasonably well. Despite some reduction and modification of the enclosing banks, it remains substantially intact. The old land surface underlying the upstanding earthworks, and remains of buildings and structures and other deposits associated with these, will survive.


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


The scheduling includes a later prehistoric multiple enclosure fort, situated on a gentle north slope on the east shoulder of a ridge south of Tregony. The fort has an inner enclosure, pear shaped in plan, and an outer enclosure with an irregular plan, and measures approximately 257m north east-south west by 215m north west-south east overall. The inner enclosure has an enclosing bank, visible on the ground as a scarp of earth and stone up to 13.9m wide and 1m high, with slight traces of the inside face. By analogy with similar sites it is considered that the bank will have an external ditch, now buried. The interior of this enclosure has a slighter gradient than the surrounding field. Aerial photographs show buried remains of a circular feature some 15m across inside the enclosing bank on the north east side, and a curving feature on the south west side, considered to be the remains of a round house and small enclosure respectively. The outer enclosure has a substantial enclosing bank of earth and stone incorporated in a field boundary with relatively modern stone facing, except to the north where it has been removed, forming a scarp above Castlezens Farm. The bank ranges from 2.2m wide and 1.8m high outside, 1m high inside (to the south west), to 4.2m wide by 3m high on the outside, 1.8m on the inside (to the south east). In places, notably on the south and west sides, the line of its outer face is sinuous, perhaps due to limited collapse and/or robbing in the past. On the south and south east sides are remains of an external ditch, visible on the ground as a linear depression up to 0.7m deep extending to approximately 12m from the base of the outer bank. As with similar sites elsewhere, this ditch is considered to extend around the remainder of the outer bank: the lane skirting the fort on the west side, and the trackway on the east side, are considered to follow its line. The location of the fort's original entrance is not clear. The interior of this enclosure falls gently to the north with the natural slope, but its ground level is significantly higher than that of the surrounding fields. All modern fencing, gateposts, gates and telegraph posts 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.


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

Legacy System number: 32936

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Padel, O J, Cornish placename elements, (1985), 42, 204
Mercer, R, AM7, (1971)
Preston-Jones, A, AM 107, (1995)
Sheppard, P, AM 107, (1984)
SW 94 SW 1, NJA, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
Title: Cornwall Mapping Project Source Date: 1996 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1880 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1907 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 2" drawing Source Date: 1811 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Veryan Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 294

End of official listing