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A scheduled Prehistoric enclosure known as Stow Camp, Stow-on-the-Wold.
County: Gloucestershire
District: COTSWOLD
Parish: STOW-ON-THE-WOLD
NGR: SP 19 25
Monument Number: 239
HER 239 DESCRIPTION:-
Scheduled Monument Description - (formerly SAM159)
The monument includes the known surviving extent of a prehistoric fortification situated on the top of a hill in the Cotswolds, immediately to the north east of the modern town of Stow-on-the-Wold. The north eastern section of the enclosure is visible as an earthwork bank, about 20m wide and 2m high, which runs between Well Lane and Shepherd's Way. The topography of the site and the curved shape of the property boundaries to the south east of this earthwork suggest that it is part of an oval enclosure which formerly covered an area of about 12ha, running to the east of Kiln Garden and Ashton House, before swinging to the west and north along the line of Park Street and Digbeth Street, through Market Square and returning east to Parson's Corner. The existence of a prehistoric enclosure at Stow has been postulated since the mid C19, based on the Saxon placename 'Maethelgeres Byrig' recorded in a charter of AD714. Excavations by O'Neil in 1972 first revealed evidence for the enclosure with the discovery of an undated ditch. Work by Parry between 1991 and 1992 revealed two further ditches, of defensive proportions, one of which was shown by radiocarbon dating to have been dug during the middle Bronze Age. The undated ditch discovered by Parry, and that revealed in 1972 by O'Neil share morphological similarities (they are both broad with shallow, sloping sides and lie in similar topographic locations), and it has been suggested that they may be different stretches of the same feature. The houses and outbuildings of the properties known as The Surgery, Ivy Cottage, Earlswood, Woodbanke Cottage, 1 and 2 Ellacott, Eastcombe, and The Cottage, all brick and stone walls, fences and telegraph poles are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included {Source Work 2873.}
The site of a hill fort, probably "Maethelgeres Byrig" of a Saxon charter of 949 AD is indicated by the curved line of Stow parish boundary, although no wall or rampart remains to confirm it.
The village of Maugersbury takes its name from this hillfort {Source Work 862.}
The site of the "bank" is still visible {Source Work 862.}
1946 vertical cover of Stow on the Wold good prints. (Area plotted on HER does not coincide with modern parish boundary) {Source Work 863.}
1972 - Ditch observed 1972 by H O'Neil during building works. 'The site of the new building lies some 24 feet outside a high bank or rampart. The rampart forming what has long been thought to have been part of the defences of the prehistoric hill-fort of Stow on the Wold. Only half the width of the ditch was available for examination...the remains of the ditch survived, some 16 feet in width, though only 8 feet could be measured, and with a depth 5 feet at greatest depth...No finds were made from the filling in the ditch to help with dating but the colour and texture of the reddish clay resembles such deposits found elsewhere in prehistoric sites in the neighbourhood'. The location of the ditch has been questioned by Parry 1996 who has noted some inconsistencies in O'Neil's reports and drawings, but the importance of the ditch has not been queried. {Source Works 4673, 902, 5957.}
No certain remains (RCHM).
There is no ground evidence for this site {Source Work 470.}
It has been suggested {Source Work 3077.} that an Iron Age hillfort preceded the present hill-top town, the defences enclosing some 12Ha on the E of the parish church. No certain remains have yet been found and the suggestion depends upon the oval pattern made by the old parish boundary on N and E, where there is a steeply scarped edge to the spur, and by the line of streets on S and W. The site may have been referred to as 'Meilgarebyri' in a charter of 714 {Source Works 1968, 1976.}
1991-2 - Immediately south of the area, a Bronze Age ditch was exposed during construction of an extension for Ellacott: the majority of the ditch must lie within the area, perhaps following the present property boundaries, and might be the same feature seen by H O'Neil in 1972 {Source Work 488.}
1994 - An archaeological excavation was undertaken by Gloucestershire County Council Archaeology Service between 25/03/1994 and 22/04/1994 at The Surgery, Well Lane. The work was undertaken with a view to clarifying the findings of the O'Neil work undertaken in 1972. The conjectured alignment of the ditch identified by O'Neil lay within a small portion of the 1994 excavation. At the base level of the proposed construction there, a clear soil distinction between natural subsoil and a modern construction deposit was found which was on the same alignment as the conjectured southern edge of the ditch observed in 1972. The other features identified during the excavation included two post medieval quarries, an undated wall, two undated pits, the 1972 construction terrace and deposits, an unused service trench and root disturbances. An archaeological watching brief was also undertaken during April 1994 and no significant information was revealed {Source Work 4673.}
1991-2 & 1994 - Excavations at Camp Gardens, Stow-on-the-Wold, have investigated an area previously identified as the defences of an Iron Age Hillfort. In 1991-2, two parallel ditches of defensive proportions were discovered on the postulated alignment of the rampart. One ditch yielded two radiocarbon dates of the Middle Bronze Age and also a sherd of pottery dated to the Late Bronze Age. The evidence points towards the presence of a hilltop enclosure - perhaps of the type excavated at Rams Hill, Oxfordshire - although more evidence is required to confirm this interpretation. The date and significance of the second ditch is uncertain. In 1994 limited excavations were undertaken c.60m west of the area excavated in 1991-2, on a site examined by H O'Neil in 1972, when a large ditch was observed. A note on O'Neil's unpublished investigations is presented to aid interpretation of the 1994 results. {Source Work 5957.}
2001 - In February 2001, Cotswold Archaeological Trust carried out an archaeological watching brief during preparatory groundworks for the construction of an extension to the doctors surgery and widening of ramped access to the building. A single L-shaped foundation trench was machine-excavated for the extension, and a narrow strip of ground was reduced in level for the construction of ramped access. No archaeological deposits were disturbed, and all the horizons encountered related to the construction of the surgery buildings in 1972, or later. {Source Work 6186.}
2012 - The possible continuation of this feature to encircle the hilltop has been hypothesized earlier and in part confirmed by Gloucestershire County Council Archaeology Service work carried out about 72m east of Ashton House during January 2012. This site is located to the south of the Scheduled Monument portion and, where partly excavated, revealed a series of Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age pottery sherds, animal bones, charcoal and limestone fragments. The footings of a later wall - probably of Medieval or Post Medieval date - 8m further south again appear to continue the circuit about 70m east southeast of Ashton House. {Source Work 11393.}
2015 - An archaeological exccavation was undertaken by Wessex Archaeology prior to the redevelopment of land at Ashton House, Union Street, Stow-on-the-Wold between 16th and 29th November 2016.
The possible remains of slumped bank material associated with Stow Camp were fully excavated but this had been heavily truncated and/or slighted, presumably for historic landscaping. In one place trample layers were revealed - the result of prehistoric foot traffic within the enclosure adjacent to a possible entrance through the bank. Early Iron Age pottery was recovered from the upper of two trample layers. A single, undated, posthole was revealed cutting this upper trample deposit {Source Work 14399.}
AREA MANAGEMENT:-
1999 - The bank of the monument is surmounted by a stone wall along a portion of its length running east of the surgery. To the east of this the bank forms the northern extent of the allotment gardens, where it is covered in weeds and shows signs of collapse. The bank continues to follow the line of the northern boundary of Camp Gardens, appearing as a grass covered earthwork, and at its easternmost extent it passes into an area of untidy tree growth. The area to the north of the rampart slopes gently downhill as far as the track which leads to the disused quarries at Oakey's Garage. This area lies within a large grass paddock.
Part of the bank also lies immediately south of the surgery, while the surviving ditches will pass beneath it.
The area of the two ditches partly excavated in 1992 lie under grass.

Monuments
HILLFORT(IRON AGE)
ENCLOSED SETTLEMENT(IRON AGE)
ENCLOSED SETTLEMENT(BRONZE AGE)
DITCH(PREHISTORIC)
QUARRY(POST MEDIEVAL)
WALL(UNCERTAIN)
PIT(UNCERTAIN)
TERRACE(20TH CENTURY)
LAYER(20TH CENTURY)
LINEAR FEATURE(20TH CENTURY)
DITCH(PREHISTORIC)
LAYER(IRON AGE)
Associated Finds
SHERD(IRON AGE)
DITCH(BRONZE AGE)
Associated Finds
ANIMAL REMAINS(MIDDLE BRONZE AGE)
SHERD(LATE BRONZE AGE)
OCCUPATION LAYER(LATE BRONZE AGE)
Associated Finds
SHERD(LATE BRONZE AGE)
ANIMAL REMAINS(LATE BRONZE AGE)
POST HOLE(LATE BRONZE AGE)
BANK (EARTHWORK)(LATE BRONZE AGE)
DITCH(POST MEDIEVALto20TH CENTURY)

Protection Status
SCHEDULED MONUMENT(1017341)

Sources and further reading
123;Grundy GB;1935-1936;Saxon Charters and Field Names of Gloucestershire Parts 1 and 2;Vol:0;
206;Royce D Rev;1861;History and Antiquities of Stow;Vol:0;
212;Sawyer PH;1968;Anglo-Saxon Charters: an annotated list and bibliography;Vol:0;
470;Saville A;1976;Vol:0;
403;RCHME;1976;Iron Age and Romano-British Monuments in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds;Vol:0;
488;Armstrong L;1987;Vol:0;
484;Historic Environment Record;various;Vol:0;
862;Ordnance Survey;unknown;Vol:0;
863;RAF (1946V);1946;Vol:0;
902;GADARG;1982;Vol:0;
918;Parry C;1991;Vol:0;
2719;Grinsell LV;1964;TRANSACTIONS OF THE BRISTOL AND GLOUCESTERSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY;Vol:83;Page(s):5-33;
2873;English Heritage;various;Vol:0;
2921;Armstrong L;1986;Vol:0;
3075;Smith AH (Ed);1964;English Place-Name Society;Vol:0;
3077;Crawford OGS;1933;ANTIQUITY;Vol:7;Page(s):347-350;
4673;Parry C;1996;Vol:0;
5209;Armstrong L;1991;Vol:0;
5231;Armstrong L;1995;Vol:0;
6070;Clapham V (Ed);2000;Stow-On-The-Wold: Glimpses of the Past;
6186;Morton R;2001;
5957;Parry C;1999;TRANSACTIONS OF THE BRISTOL AND GLOUCESTERSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY;Vol:117;Page(s):75-87;
2665;Parry C;1993;Vol:0;
3248;NMR;1935;Vol:0;
13449;Thomson A;2015;
11393;Stratford E;2012;
4249;Historic England;Various;Vol:0;
14399;Thompson S;2016;
15766;Powell A;2018;TRANSACTIONS OF THE BRISTOL AND GLOUCESTERSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY;Vol:136;Page(s):43-54;
4249;Historic England;Various;Vol:0;
919;Rawes B (Ed);1993;TRANSACTIONS OF THE BRISTOL AND GLOUCESTERSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY;Vol:111;Page(s):215-235;

Related records
HER   11905     Watching brief and excavation at Ellacott, Camp Gardens, Stow on the Wold.
HISTORIC ENGLAND AMIE RECORD;1048383
SMC;smc/91/27
HER   42838     Bank or rampart feature partly excavated by Gloucestershire County Council Archaeology Service between 16 and 19 February 2012 some 72m east of Ashton House, Stow-on-the-Wold.
HER   42839     Robbed wall footings - probably of Medieval or Post Medieval date wall - partly excavated by Gloucestershire County Council Archaeology Service 73m east southeast of Ashton House, Stow-on-the-Wold.
HER   14564     Archaeological evaluation at Fosseway Farm, Stow-on-the-Wold. Three undated ditches identified.
HER   6940     Lime Kiln
HISTORIC ENGLAND AMIE RECORD;1339625
AIP RECORD;E.23.A001

Source
Gloucestershire County Council: Historic Environment Record Archive