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Historic England Research Records

Brewers Castle

Hob Uid: 35635
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Withypool and Hawkridge
Grid Ref : SS8831029760
Summary : Brewer's Castle, an Iron Age defended settlement or hillfort, survives as an earthwork in Hawkridge Ridge Wood. The site occupies a steep knoll, the sides of which have been artificially enhanced to form a bank. There are two entrances, one to the west and the other to the north east. Three possible house platforms lie close to the north eastern entrance. Vitrification of the stone found at the base of the rampart south of the northern entrance suggests that the site was destroyed by fire.
More information : [SS 88332977] Brewer's Castle (NAR) Camp (NR) (1)

Brewer's Castle, univallate hillfort of under 3 acres (3) above the confluence of the River Barle and Dane Brook. The bank is 3 ft. high inside and externally some 10 ft. above the level of the silted-up outer ditch (2). (2-3)

Brewer's Castle occupies a defensive situation at the eastern end of a narrow ridge. Except on the west the natural slopes are utilized as defence with slight evidence of scarping on the east and south east. Loose stone on the east and south slopes, combined with an inner berm, may indicate the former existence of a stone wall around this part ofthe perimeter, but there are no traces of footings. A gap on the west is the only entrance and is formed by an inturning of the scarp. At this point, on the neck of the ridge, there is a shallow natural saddle which Bothamley took to be a silted up ditch. The interior has one large mass of outcrop and several natural terraces of stone. The earthwork would be unsuitable for the impounding of cattle or for any large scale habitation. It is possibly entirely natural but the impression gained is of an attempt having been made to enclose the area. As such it is not possible to classify the work upon visual inspection alone.
Surveyed at 1/2500. (4)

SS 884298. Brewer's Castle. Scheduled. (5)

Brewer's Castle is very strongly fortified both by artifical defences and by natural features, despite it small size. The main defence is on the west side where there is a bank rising 2m from an external ditch. Around the other sides the defences are slighter, a low rubblebank and scarp being traceable around the circuit except on the NE where there is a gap 4m wide, to the south of which is a large recumbent stone, possibly a gate-post. Visited 1 4 73. (6)

(SS 88332977) Brewer's Castle (NAT)
Fort (NR) (7)

Additional Bibliography. (8)

SS 883 297. Brewer's Castle. Listed in gazetteer as a univallate hillfort covering 0.29ha. (9)

SS 8832 2977. Brewer's Castle
Note: This may not be the correct spelling. On the 1899 First Edition Ordnance Survey 1:2500 (10a) this site is annotated as "Bremers Castle" (Remains of) (sic) although on the 1904 Revision (10b) it does appear as "Brewer's Castle". Field investigation failed to ascertain the correct spelling. Brewer's Castle is situated about 205m above OD on the summit of a flat-topped, pear-shaped, knoll at the eastern end of a ridge in the deciduous woodland of Hawkridge Ridge Wood. The knoll lies in a U-bend formed by the River Barle on the north, east and south-east and its tributary the Dane's Brook in the south. It is accessed by a footpath ascending the ridge from the west. The edge of the natural knoll has been artificially enhanced to form a steep scarp, or rampart, about 2m in average height, which is best seen from the north, eastwards around to the south. This rampart probably existed along the north-west side but appears to have eroded away down the steeper slopes here. The rampart encloses an area about 72m E/W by 62m internally, some 0.36ha (0.9 acres). No evidence of a wall or bank topping the rampart, as alleged by Burrow (6), was seen. Probing revealed stone but this may be the natural surface as the knoll is quite rocky. There is however a clear internal berm, some 4 to 5m wide, adjacent and parallel to the rampart around most of the east and south sides. The entrance is in the west, across the narrowest part of the ridge, marked by a 2m break flanked by two inturned ends of the rampart. If there was a ditch here, fronting the entrance, there is now no trace of it. There is another break, about 4m wide, in the rampart to the NE. It is above steeper slopes and could be an original feature but may be no more than a break made by the users of the quarry, or simply soil slip. A large irregular elongated stone, just to the south of this break, suggested by Burrow (6) to be a possible gatepost, is most probably natural. Internally the main feature is a linear ridge of outcropping rock running E/W from near the entrance across most of the interior. It has been quarried for stone from the south side. To the south of this ridge there are several terraces which are probably natural features. There are also several small level areas which would have been suitable platforms for buildings although no definite evidence of any is evident. Though small and not strongly defended, this site is acceptable as a probably defensive settlement falling within the Iron Age period. The site is scheduled (10d). Published survey (10c) 1:2500 accepted. (10)

Brewer's Castle was surveyed at 1:500 scale by the RCHME as part of the Exmoor project. Full details in report (11).

Scheduling amended. (12)

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 Somerset, volume two
Source details : (C H Bothamley)
Page(s) : 477
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Vol(s) : 2, 1911
Source Number : 10a
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 1890 (Surveyed 1888) 1:2500 Somerset 57:13
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Source Number : 10b
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 1904 (Revision) 1:2500 Somerset 57:13
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Source Number : 10c
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 1970 (Revision) 1:2500 Sheet SS 8829
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Source Number : 10d
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage, 1987 County List of Scheduled Ancient Monuments: Somerset 28 No:372
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Source Number : 11
Source : Mounsey Castle and Brewer's Castle : two Iron Age enclosures in the Barle Valley, Somerset : an archaeological survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England
Source details : Riley H 1999 Mounsey Castle and Brewer's Castle: two Iron Age enclosures in the Barle Valley, Somerset. RCHME Survey report
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Source Number : 12
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 03-Sep-04
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Source : Brewer's Castle/ink survey
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Source : Brewer's Castle/pencil survey
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Source : Mounsey Castle and Brewers Castle/report
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Source Number : 3
Source : Ordnance Survey map of southern Britain in the Iron Age
Source details :
Page(s) : 45
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JP 25-AUG-65
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Source Number : 5
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : DOE (IAM) Ancient Mons England 2 1978 p120
Page(s) : 120
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Source Number : 6
Source : Hillfort and hill-top settlement in Somerset in the first to eighth centuries A.D.
Source details :
Page(s) : 255-6
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Vol(s) : 91
Source Number : 7
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:10000 1973
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Source Number : 8
Source : The archaeology of Somerset
Source details : The Archaeology of Somerset, The County Arch. Series (D A Dobson), 1931
Page(s) : 231
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Source Number : 9
Source : PPG16 one year on
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Page(s) : 195
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Vol(s) : 62
Source Number : 10
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : IS Sainsbury 17-JAN-1996 RCHME Field Investigation
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Enclosed Settlement, Univallate Hillfort, Building Platform
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 34287
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : SO 372
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 35976
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : AF1351416
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 82 NE 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 82 NE 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1965-08-25
End Date : 1965-08-25
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: WEST EXMOOR PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31