Slight univallate hillfort, an 18th century folly and a World War II spigot mortar emplacement, on the summit of Haughmond Hill
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1021282
Date first listed: 31-Mar-1949
Date of most recent amendment: 24-Jun-2010
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SJ 53749 13795
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.
The slight univallate hillfort on Haughmond Hill is a good example of this class of monument. In Shropshire, hillforts of this type are comparatively rare in relation to other types of hillforts with more sizeable defences. It is even more unusual for the defensive circuit of a hillfort to be unfinished. The defences will retain evidence about the nature of their construction, and organic remains surviving in the buried ground surface beneath the rampart and within the ditch will provide information about the local environment and the use of the surrounding land before the hillfort was built and during its occupation. All this evidence, together with the buried structural feature within the interior and the associated artefactual and organic remains, will provide significant information about the lifestyles and occupations of the inhabitants. The importance of this hillfort is further enhanced by its location to the nearby, and broadly contemporary, hillfort on Ebury Hill. The remains of the late 18th century folly provide evidence of a once noteable landmark and a tangible link to the country pursuits of the landed gentry in this area. The spigot mortar emplacement survives well. Its position, related to its likely use for training purposes by the Home Guard, is most unusual, and adds to our knowledge of military installations established in the area during World War II.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a slight univallate
hillfort, within which are the remains of an 18th century folly known as
Haughmond Castle and a World War II spigot mortar emplacement.
The slight univallate hillfort is situated on the summit of Haughmond Hill, at the western end of this escarpment, from where there are extensive views over the Severn valley and the north Shropshire plain. The hillfort lies 100m north of a medieval ringwork known as Queen Eleanor's Bower and 2.4km SSW of a slight univallate hillfort on Ebury Hill. Both these monuments are the subject of separate schedulings.
The hillfort on Haughmond Hill is an irregular polygon in plan. Its overall dimensions are approximately 155m north-south by 230m east-west. The rampart which defines the interior of the fort survives as a discontinuous earthwork incorporating the steep natural scarps and rock outcrops of the hilltop. The rampart around the south eastern part of the circuit is about 17m wide and stands to a height of 1.8m. To the north, the rampart becomes less pronounced and survives as a scarp about 0.8m high. On the southern side of the circuit, where the defences run up to the head of a narrow steep-sided gully, the ends of the rampart turn inward to form an entrance passage about 5m wide. The rampart to the west of the gully is visible as a steep scarp, with the defensive line around the south western part of the circuit being maintained by the steep and rocky side of the hill. A natural scarp, 4.5m high, appears to have been artifically accentuated to form the rampart along the western part of the northern side. To the east of this scarp, where the ground is more level, the rampart stands to a height of 1.6m and is about 11m wide. This rampart has a rounded eastern end and appears to be the side of a possible entranceway. To the east of this section of rampart, where the ground is mostly level, there is no visible indication of any defences. It is considered that this part of the circuit was never completed. An external ditch along the south eastern and north western parts of the circuit provided stone and soil for the construction of the adjacent sections of rampart. Although this ditch is no longer visible at ground level, having been infilled over the years, it survives as a buried feature about 10m wide. The ground within the interior of the hillfort is uneven and bedrock is exposed in many places. Some of the depressions here are probably the remains of quarries used for the construction of the defences.
Close to the western side of the hillfort are the remains of Haughmond Castle, a late 18th century folly originally used as a signal tower to alert huntsmen of a forthcoming foxhunt in the area. Information from a large scale Ordnance Survey map published in 1881 and early 20th century photographs indicate that it consisted of three semicircular two storey crenellated towers set in a triangle separated by an arched gateway. Much of this folly collapsed in 1931. Part of its base, comprising irregularly coursed rubble-built walls held in place by iron bands, stands about 1m high. Dressed sandstone blocks that originally formed part of this structure lie close to the standing remains.
To the north east of the folly, on lower ground within the northern part of the hillfort interior, is a World War II spigot mortar emplacement. It consists of a concrete drum, or `thimble', 1m in diameter and 1m high, with a central stainless steel pin in the top, and is situated in a roughly square pit, 2.8m across and averaging 0.5m deep. On top of the stainless steel pin a 29mm spigot mortar, also known as a Black Bombard, would have been mounted. It was an anti-tank and anti-personnel weapon and had a range of 365m (400 yards). Emplacements are normally located by bridges, road junctions and other crossing points. The siting of a spigot mortar on Haughmond Hill, some distance from roads and other features of strategic importance, strongly suggests that this example was used by the Home Guard for training purposes.
Metal supports for an information plaque 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: 34950
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Lowry, B (ed), Twentieth Century defences in Britain. An introductory guide, (1995), 87-88
'Shrewsbury Chronicle for 5 June 1931' in Shrewsbury Chronicle for 5 June 1931, (1931), 6
County Series map 1:2500, (1881)
Lowry, B, (2002)
Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ 51 SW 7, (1978)
Photo of collapsed folly, Shrewsbury Chronicle for 5 June 1931, (1931)
photos from local studies library, Uffington parish file book,
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