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Barbury Castle

Hob Uid: 221369
Location :
Wiltshire, Swindon
Wroughton, Ogbourne St. Andrew
Grid Ref : SU1493076290
Summary : An Iron Age "developed" multivallate hillfort with substantial earthwork remains. The hillfort measures 400m wide east to west by 290m wide north to south. It is one of a number of hillforts located on or close to the line of the Iron Age and later Ridgeway (see NMR LINEAR60). The hillfort is located at the western end of the ridge of Barbury Hill at a height of 265m. The hillfort comprises two concentric rings of banks and ditches enclosing an oval area of circa 4.5ha and has entrances, which both measure circa 10m wide, at the eastern and western ends aligned with the ridge. A track, possibly an offshoot of the Ridgeway, extends between the entrances and was adopted as the parish boundary between Wroughton and Ogbourne St Andrew. The eastern entrance is defended by a right angled outwork which comprised a ditch and bank that extends out from the main hillfort and which may be the remains of an earlier Bronze Age enclosure as the hillfort banks appear to overlay it. The northern part of the outwork has become in-filled due to 20th century cultivation. Excavations have uncovered Iron Age rubbish pits. Iron Age /Roman, Anglo-Saxon finds have made and Anglo-Saxon inhumations have been found. The hillfort was used for defence / training by the United States Army during the Second World War and they caused significant damage to the western entrance when they widened it. The interior of the hillfort also suffered damage from bombing and the construction of slit trenches (see NMR SU 17 NW 152 and NMR SU 17 NW 153, respectively). Immediately northwest of the hillfort lies a flat topped Bronze Age bowl barrow (see NMR SU 17 NW 154) and just to the west is a Bronze Age disc barrow (see NMR SU 17 NW 7). A post medieval dewpond has been constructed on the south-eastern rampart (see NMR SU 17 NE 45).
More information : (SU 149763) Barbury Castle (NAT) Hill Fort (NR). (1)

A bivallate hill fort of 11 1/2 acres with entrances at E and W, the E entrance having outworks (2). Army digging has exposed rubbish pits containing IA A/B pottery (5). Also found was a blacksmith's hoard including IA B chariot fittings (now in Devizes Museum (4) together with other iron objects (3). RB pottery is only found outside the ramparts (5) but a Roman bronze brooch (2a) and Roman silvered bronze spoon with "verecunda" scratched on the bowl have been found inside (2). In 1934 a 6th Cent Saxon scramasax, knives and a spearhead, which are now in Marlborough College Museum, were found, and in 1939-45 possibly Saxon inhumations were discovered in the ramparts (7). (2-7)

SU 149763: Three sherds, probably Iron Age, although one sherd with impressed cordon looks like Middle Bronze Age, from a section of the inner ditch bank. (8)

Barbury Castle: An IA fort with two main ramparts and some evidence of a third on the north side. The main (inner) rampart is 8.7m high, and has sarsen stones set in the outer face. The outer rampart is 3.7m high and has an irregular scarp averaging 0.6m high set against the inside top of the bank (probably an unfinished attempt to raise the height). The ditch to this rampart has a slight counterscarp around all but the NW side where it has been destroyed by quarrying, and on the SE where it is encroached upon by a modern pond. On the north side, a broad levelled area bounded by an outer scarp 1.9m high is probably the unfinished remains of an additional outer rampart. It has been mutilated in places by quarrying. There are two entrances, on the east and west sides. The eastern entrance is defended by a 'D' shaped barbican work, the northern half of which has been levelled by ploughing and re-cut for a later trackway. The western entrance shows signs of inturning with the inner slopes of the cutting revetted in places by sarsens. The outer bank to the north of this entrance has been dug away in modern times. The interior shows signs of extensive ground disturbance and a few IA sherds were found in it. Resurveyed at 1:2500. (9)

The iron scramasax is now in Devizes Museum (Devizes 1981.110) (10)

Additional reference. (11)

Surveyed by the RCHME at 1:1000, 1998. The outer scarp on the N side may be the remnant of an earlier enclosure overlain by the hillfort, as may the outwork at the E entrance which is at an odd angle to the ramparts and is overlain by the outer ramparts at least. Traces of about 35 hut circles are visible in the interior as are considerable signs of Second World War disturbance including gun pits, slit trenches and bomb craters. Geophysical survey (12a) has shown sub-surface traces of at least 6 more houses and numerous pits. Further details are held in the NMR archive. (12)

An Iron Age "developed" multivallate hillfort with substantial earthwork remains as detailed in 1-12 above. The hillfort is centred on SU 1493 7629 and measures 400m wide east to west by 290m wide north to south. It is one of a number of hillforts located on or close to the line of the Iron Age and later Ridgeway (see NMR LINEAR60 / UID 1001721). The hillfort is located at the western end of the ridge of Barbury Hill at a height of 265m. A track, which is a possible offshoot of the Ridgeway, extends between the entrances and was adopted as the parish boundary between Wroughton and Ogbourne St Andrew. The eastern entrance is defended by a right angled outwork which comprised a ditch and bank that extends out from the main hillfort and which may be the remains of an earlier Bronze Age enclosure as the hillfort banks appear to overlay it. The northern part of the outwork has become in-filled due to 20th century cultivation. The hillfort was used for defence / training by the United States Army during the Second World War and they caused significant damage to the western entrance when they widened it. The interior of the hillfort also suffered damage from bombing and the construction of slit trenches (see NMR SU 17 NW 152 / UID 1501702 and NMR SU 17 NW 153 / UID 1501796, respectively). Immediately northwest of the hillfort lies a flat topped Bronze Age bowl barrow (see NMR SU 17 NW 154 / UID 1501807) and just to the west is a Bronze Age disc barrow (see NMR SU 17 NW 7 / UID 221366). A post medieval dewpond has been constructed on the south-eastern rampart (see NMR SU 17 NE 45 / UID 1176773). (13-14).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1960
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Source Number : 2
Source : A history of Wiltshire: volume 1, part 1
Source details :
Page(s) : 94,268
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Source Number : 9
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 PAS 16-JAN-75
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Source Number : 10
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details :
Page(s) : 161
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Vol(s) : 77, 1982
Source Number : 11
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Colt Hoare R., 1821. Ancient Wiltshire Vol 2. 41
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Source Number : 12
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Mark Bowden/Aug-1998/RCHME: Barbury Castle Survey
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Source Number : 12a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ancient Monuments Lab 1996 (A Payne pers comm to M Bowden)
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Source Number : 13
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR US/7PH/GP/LOC209 5003-5004 08-MAR-1944
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Source Number : 14
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SU 1476/24 RCA 11410/20 UNKNOWN
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Source : SU 17 NW 7, 8 (Barbury Castle) and SU 17 NE 20 (1975)
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Source : Barbury Castle
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Source : Barbury Castle, western defences and entrance/pencil plan
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Source Number : 2a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Devizes Museum Cat 2 p215 Illus
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Source : Barbury Castle, east and west entrances, interior and scarp to north /pencil plan
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Source : Barbury Castle/pencil plan
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Source : Barbury Castle/ink plan
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Source : SU 17 NW 8 (Barbury Castle) (1975)
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Source : Barbury Castle, southern defences and pond/pencil plan
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Source Number : 2b
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Reports Marlborough College Nat Hist Soc Jan-June 1875 p4
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Source Number : 3
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : M MacGregor, D D A Simpson
Page(s) : 394-402
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Vol(s) : 58, 1963
Source Number : 4
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Inf M Buckley letter 29.1.73
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Source Number : 5
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : O Meyrick
Page(s) : 260
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Vol(s) : 51, 1945-7
Source Number : 6
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : E H Goddard
Page(s) : 373
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Vol(s) : 38, 1913-14
Source Number : 7
Source : A gazetteer of early Anglo-Saxon burial sites
Source details :
Page(s) : 265
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Source Number : 8
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details :
Page(s) : 197
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Vol(s) : 66, 1971

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Bronze Age
Display Date : Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -700
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Enclosure
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Multivallate Hillfort
Evidence : Earthwork, Find
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : C7
Monument End Date : 699
Monument Start Date : 600
Monument Type : Inhumation Cemetery
Evidence : Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Multivallate Hillfort
Object Type : HOARD, VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : BROOCH, SPOON, VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Early Medieval
Component Monument Type : Inhumation Cemetery
Object Type : SEAX, SPEAR
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SU17NW200
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 28109
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : NMR 18003/33
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 17 NW 8
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 221334
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1502128
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1501702
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1501706
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, BARBURY CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1870-01-01
End Date : 1875-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BARBURY CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1933-01-01
End Date : 1933-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 17 NW 8
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1975-01-16
End Date : 1975-01-16
Associated Activities : Primary, BARBURY CASTLE (WESSEX HILLFORTS PROJECT)
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: BARBURY CASTLE SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1998-07-13
End Date : 1998-11-06
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: BARBURY CASTLE ENVIRONS AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH SURVEY AND ANALYSIS PROJECT
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2009-06-01
End Date : 2009-09-01