Ringwork on Whitsburn Hill, 310m south west of Whitsburn Cottage


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Ringwork on Whitsburn Hill, 310m south west of Whitsburn Cottage
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2020 at 11:36:52.


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

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
Worthen with Shelve
National Grid Reference:
SJ 32891 02943

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.

Despite some modification to the defences, the ringwork on Whitsburn Hill is a good example of this class of monument. It is one of the smallest ringworks known in Shropshire and its principal purpose appears to have been to support a watchtower, the remains of which will survive as a buried feature. The form of the ringwork is also unusual in that the interior has been been partially raised above the level of the surrounding land. Organic remains, preserved in the buried ground surface beneath the bank and the raised interior and deposited within the ditches, will provide information about the local environment and the use of the land prior to and following the construction of the ringwork.


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a ringwork, situated on a gentle north west facing slope on the northern flank of Whitsburn Hill. From this location there is a commanding view of the whole Rea Brook valley. The ringwork is broadly contemporary with other medieval fortifications in the vicinity including the mottes near Village Farm and Lady House Farm, which are the subject of separate schedulings. The ringwork is an oval-shaped enclosure, measuring approximately 32m north to south by 36m east to west. The external ditch is between 5m and 8m wide. The portion to the south is about 1m deep and is waterlogged, while the northern and eastern portions survive as a buried feature as they have been largely infilled. Material excavated from the ditch has been used to raise the northern half of the interior above the level of the surrounding land in order to create a level building platform, that stands up to 1.9m high and probably supported a watchtower. Spoil from this operation has also been used to create a low bank, 4m wide, around the top of the internal platform. It defines a circular area about 11m in diameter. The north western part of the bank has been subsequently reduced in height. All fence 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:
Legacy System:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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