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Settlement enclosure at Castle Hill, Denby Common
County: West Yorks
District: Kirklees
Parish: Denby Dale CP
Monument Number: ( 10 )
The monument includes a late prehistoric enclosed settlement, situated on Denby Common, on the south side of Windmill Lane, on the south edge of a plateau. This earthwork enclosure is c.4kms. south west of Denby Dale in an arable field (English Heritage, 1999). The remains of the earthwork comprise an L-shaped rampart standing 1-3 metres above the bottom of the ditch which is quite broad (3-4 metres). A slight lowering of the inner bank on the west side may be an entrance, but the O.S. investigator in 1961 suggested that this depression in the bank was probably a later path trodden down by cattle, so the validity of the entrance remains in doubt. The site is not in a good defensive position, being overlooked from the north and east. A landslip on the south side caused by modern quarrying has altered the form of the bank, and the outer ditch on the north west side has been greatly ploughed down and was apparently very difficult to survey. Various functions have been suggested for this site - a fortified site seems unlikely in view of its location; a vaccary is another possibility (it has been compared with the assumed Iron Age earthwork called Meg Dyke - PRN 21) though it is not the vaccary referred to in 1086 as the reference to Denby there is to the Denby in Penistone. Date of the earthwork is uncertain - it is probably Iron Age and possibly has Neolithic origins (English Heritage, 1999). ------------------------------------------- Castle Hill was included on the scheduled monuments list in 1979. Below is the monument's scheduling description as amended in 1999: The monument includes a late prehistoric enclosed settlement, situated on Denby Common, on the south side of Windmill Lane, at the south edge of a plateau. The enclosure survives as an upstanding earthwork on the south-west and west sides. On the south-west side this takes the form of a substantial bank, following the top of the natural scarp. Because of this scarp, the bank is about 0.6m high on its north-east side, but has a drop of approximately 4m on its south-west side. There are several small quarry holes at the base of this slope, which obscure any evidence for a ditch. The west side of teh enclosure is formed by a bank approximately 10m wide and 0.3m high, with an external ditch about 5m wide and up to 0.3m deep. The upstanding remains of the rest of the enclosure have been flattened by ploughing in the past, but the edges of the enclosure are just traceable as a slight break of slope on the north side and a very faint bank on the east side. The south side of the enclosure is marked by the edge of the scarp. During field walking in the 1970s approximately 90 Neolithic flints were found. This suggests that the site may have earlier prehistoric antecedents. (Edited from English Heritage's National Heritage List of England, amended 1999) ------------------------------------------- In 1996 RCHME carried out a systematic survey of the enclosure. The enclosure has traditionally been thought to be Iron Age although no finds of this date have been located. Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age activity on the site is confirmed by the presence of a substantial lithic assemblage and two fragments of polished axes (Gilks 1974, 8). Most of this assembalge was found along the southern bank of the enclosure. The enclosure may have encompased an area measuring roughly 90m x 90m, which is small, but thought to be acceptable for aNeolithic date and within the size range for an Iron Age or later feature (RCHME 1996, 6). The `prehistoric' connections arose from the fieldwork done in the 1970s by J. Gilks et.al. - they found c. 90 Neolithic flints, some 80% of which were collected from a 14 sq.metre area of the plough-reduced rampart on the south side of the enclosure (Gilks, 1974). 2 frags. of stone axes were also found (see PRNs 2012, 2060). It was on the basis of this evidence that the site was interpreted as a Neolithic occupation site. (Flints and axes held by Tolson Museum, Huddersfield). Dr Paul Preston (2011/12) also records that Gilks discovered Mesolithic lithics he states 'the Mesolithic site lies beneath [the] Neolithic and later prehistoric earthwork enclosed settlement. Dr Preston gives no further detail of the lithics discovered.

Sources
AP
RAF 541 122/4425-6
List
English Heritage. 2011. 'Heritage at Risk Register: Yorkshire & Humber' p.123
Desc.text
Card Index of Tolson Museum, Huddersfield
Desc.text
Gilks, J.,1974 W.Yks.Met.Co. Archaeol.Research Cmttee.paper -copy in SMR
Desc.text
English Heritage. 'Late prehistoric enclosed settlement on Castle Hill' National Heritage List of England (date originally scheduled 05/10/1979)
Report
RCHME, Brown, M., 1996. 'Castle Hill Denby Dale Arcaheological Field Survey Report'
Record form
WYAS, Gledhill, T. 1997. MPP Site visit report
Desc.text
Preston, P. R. 2011/2012. Lithics to Landscapes: Hunter-Gatherer tool use, resource exploitation, and mobility during the Mesolithic of the Central Pennines, D.Phil. Thesis, University of Oxford, Oxford UK
Desc.text
Redfern, Neil EH FMW, 24/07/2002, Site visit report
Photograph
Redfern, Neil EH FMW, 24/07/2002, Site visit photographs
Desc.text
English Heritage. 1999. Scheduling Notification for SAM no 31503
Desc.text
VCH Yorks. 1912, vol 2, p.7
List
Historic England. 'Heritage at Risk Register 2015: Yorkshire' p.100
Report
Luke, Y., EH FMW, 14/01/2009, site visit report
Photograph
Luke, Y., EH FMW, site visit photographs, stored in HER digital photographs
List
English Heritage. 'Heritage at Risk Register 2013: Yorkshire' p.114
AP
English Heritage. 06/11/2007. 'Castle Hill Earthwork'. NMR refs: 20721_033-037; 20723_019-022.