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Roborough Castle

Hob Uid: 35176
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Lynton and Lynmouth
Grid Ref : SS7305045980
Summary : A hillslope enclosure, probably the site of an Iron Age settlement, is located to the north of Lyncombe Lane, Lynton and Lynmouth parish. The sub-circular enclosure, internally about 70m East-West by 64m, an area of some 0.4 ha, is formed by a turf-covered earth and stone bank which is up to 9.5m wide in the south. The western edge of the earthwork has been damaged by quarrying and the whole site has been repeatedly ploughed. It has been surveyed at 1:2500 scale and is clearly visible on aerial photographs.
More information : (SS 73064599) Roborough Castle (NR) Enclosure (NR) (1)

A univallate hill slope enclosure, circular in shape (2), it is
approximately 83 yards in diameter and the western side is in best
condition (3). (2-3)

Roborough Castle (a), a sub-circular 100.0 metre diameter IA
defensive settlement situated on a slight north slope with a simple
entrance in the SE.

It is basically univallate although the downhill side is extremely
weak. A short section of ditch (on the west side) is very deep and
wide; this appears to be an incomplete attempt to strengthen the
earthwork.

Extremely well preserved.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. (4)

SS 7305 4599. Roborough Castle a univallate hillslope enclosure, probably an Iron Age settlement.

It is situated on a gentle north-facing slope at about 320m above OD on the north side of Lyncombe Lane, a green track crossing the northern flanks of Stock Common. It has unrestricted views northwards to Foreland Point, the Bristol Channel and the South Wales coast; to the east it overlooks Hoaroak Water down steep wooded slopes; whilst the ground rises gently up to Furzehill Common on the south. It is shown on the 1840 tithe map (6) and annotated "Danish Fort" and it was common ground when visited by Woollcombe (7) at about the same time. By 1906, when Chanter (8) saw it, it was ploughed over and the ditch has "almost entirely disappeared". The site (except for bank around the south-west quadrant) was still being ploughed untill as recently as 1980 (9). It is at present under pasture.
The sub-circular enclosure, internally about 70m E/W by 64m an area of some 0.4 ha, is formed by a turf-covered earth and stone bank which is up to 9.5m wide in the south.
The bank predominates around the south-west side where its top is at best some 1.2m high above the interior and 1.7m high above an external ditch. Centrally this quadrant has been partly robbed externally for some 12m. From the west around to the south-east the bank is extremely low in comparison, its crest being at best only about 0.4m high above the interior and 1.2m above the ditch bottom. Although it has been ploughed, eroded and silted, this side was probably never as substantial as the more impressive south-west upper side.
The ditch mirrors the bank and is deepest and widest around the south-west being about 4.3m wide and 0.6m deep at best. Elsewhere it is silted, ploughed and barely visible, reaching a maximum depth of about 0.3m. In the south-west it has been quarried in two separate places, leaving an apparent `causeway' between the quarry holes. The ditch here is now about 6.5m wide and some 2.5m deep. This is not "an incomplete attempt to strengthen the earthwork" as the material from the ditch has not gone onto the bank, in fact it has actually cut into it exposing its earth and stone core. The quarrying also has a rather sharp `modern' appearance to it.
Neither the tithe map (6) nor the Woollcombe Ms (7) show an entrance to the enclosure, however the 1887 Ordnance Survey map(e) shows a break in the bank on the south-east side with an out-turn to bank on the North side of the break. There is little doubt that an entrance was situated here where today the well-defined bank ends abruptly. On its south side the bank has clearly been cut across by the plough, removing some 2m from its length and enlarging the original entrance. On the north side the same has happened except that the bank, probably never very substantial, is much more reduced. The inner scarp on this north side is very slight and much spread and the ditch is no more than 0.3m deep. The present entrance gap is now about 12m wide but originally it must have been much narrower.
On the north-west side of the enclosure the situation is very similar and theh ploughcut across the end of the bank is also well-defined. Ploughing has obscured the area but the abrupt ending of the bank suggests there may have been an entrance here also, although there is now no definite evidence to support this.
The interior has been ploughed to a depth of at least 0.3m below the inner base of the bank around the upper side leaving a distinct ploughcut, up to 0.7m parallel, out from the inner bank base. The north-east (lower) part is relatively flat, possibly a combination of shallower natural slope initially and gradual build up of hillwash. The upper part of the interior is mainly a slightly raised level platform and the central area contains two irregular ill-defined platforms. Though no definite trace of buildings is evident it is likely that these areas were used as stances.
In 1839 Woollcombe (7) sketched, but did not describe, a linear earthwork extending from the south-west side of the enclosure for about 100m, but there is now no trace, or suggestion, of this feature on the ground. (5)

The earthwork hillslope enclosure of Roborough Castle has been transcribed as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme project. The area of robbing and quarrying at the eastern section of the earthwork is clearly visible. Some internal earthworks, presumably the platforms described by the above authority, can also be seen and an attempt has been made to mark their limits. (13-14)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1962
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Devon : volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 607
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1, 1906
Source Number : 11
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 1976 1:2500 Sheet SS 7345.
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Source Number : 12
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Sainsbury, I.S. 22-JUN-1994 RCHME Field Investigation.
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Source Number : 13
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 540/931 (F20) 4036-7 11-NOV-1952
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Source Number : 14
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/95026 045-046 12-MAR-1995
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Source Number : 3
Source : North Devon
Source details :
Page(s) : 120
Figs. :
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Source Number : 4
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Mr Sanders South Stock Lynton
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 MJF 09-SEP-74
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Source Number : 6
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Lynton Tithe Map 1840 Devon Record Office.
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Source Number : 7
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Woollcombe, H. 1839 MS, in Devon & Exeter Institution.
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Source Number : 8
Source : Devonshire Association reports and transactions
Source details : Chanter, Rev J.F. The Parishes of Lynton and Countisbury.
Page(s) : 118-119
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 38, 1906
Source Number : 9
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Timms, S. 1980 Devon County Archaeologist (visited 11 June following report from Exmoor National Park Field Warden) Note and Plan in Parish File.
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Source Number : 10
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 1889 1:2500 Devon Sheet 7:1.
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Enclosed Settlement
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SS74NW16
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DV 242
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MDE1246
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 675
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 NW 13
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1465373
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1465375
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1465376
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 74 NW 13
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1974-09-09
End Date : 1974-09-09
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01