Callow Hill Camp: a small multivallate hillfort


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019828

Date first listed: 05-Dec-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 09-May-2001


Ordnance survey map of Callow Hill Camp: a small multivallate hillfort
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Minsterley

National Grid Reference: SJ 38440 04818


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

Reasons for Designation

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

The small multivallate hillfort on Callow Hill is a good example of this class of monument. It is one of a group of broadly contemporary hillforts constructed along the hills overlooking the Rea Brook valley. In common with these other defended settlements, the hillfort on Callow Hill is considered to contain significant buried deposits, structural features, artefactual and organic remains, which have the potential to illustrate many aspects of Iron Age life. The defences will retain evidence about their manner of construction and any subsequent modification. The organic remains surviving in the buried ground surfaces beneath the ramparts and within the ditches will also provide important information about the local environment and the use of the land before and after the hillfort was constructed.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a small multivallate hillfort, situated on the southern end of the summit of Callow Hill overlooking the Rea Brook valley to the north. Callow Hill slopes steeply on its eastern and western sides, while on the southern side there is a deep ravine. To the north, the natural fall of the ground is less steep, but much of this part of the hill was quarried for stone in the 20th century.

The hillfort is roughly triangular in plan, with overall dimensions of 96m north west to south east by 146m south west to north east. The defensive circuit defines an area of about 0.3ha. Its size would suggest it was the settlement of a small community, perhaps several related family groups or a single extended family group. The earthwork defences of the hillfort consist of two principal ramparts separated by a ditch. The outer faces of the ramparts survive as steep scarps, which closely follow the contours of the hill. The ditch, which has been largelly infilled, is discernible as a terrace or as a shallow depression, but will survive as a buried feature. Along the north western side an outer ditch defined by an external rampart provided an additional line of defence. A similar arrangement exists on the southern side, but here the outermost rampart is bounded externally by a terrace or infilled ditch. Running along this outer terrace is a former boundary bank. This section of the boundary bank is included in the scheduling. The original entrance into the interior of the hillfort was via a 4m causeway through the north eastern corner of the defences.

Documentary sources suggest that in the medieval period a stone-built castle was constructed on Callow Hill. Its exact location is not known, and there is no visible indication to suggest that the remains of the castle lie within the hillfort.

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: 33838

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Shropshire : Volume VIII, (1968), 306
Reid, ML, Callow Hill Camp. An archaeological management plan, 1998, A report for Shropshire CC

End of official listing