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Sidbury Castle

Hob Uid: 449434
Location :
East Devon
Grid Ref : SY1284091340
Summary : A large Iron Age univallet hillfort known as Sidbury Castle occupying a high elevated position on a steep-sided hill at the end of a Greensand spur just west of the River Sid. It has a defended area of about 4 hectares with a single elongated passageway entrance to the north west. The hillfort is aligned north west to south east and takes the form of a long narrow pear-shaped enclosure with the wider part at the south east. It is about 500 metres long with a maximum width of 100 metres. The defences include a single rampart, ditch, and counterscarp bank enclosing a flat interior which falls away only when in proximity to the rampart where a soil quarry seems likely to have existed. The earth rampart, which is 1.2 metres high and nearly vertical on the inside, follows the contours of the hill and utilises the steep break of slope on all sides;it varies in height between 4.4 metres and 9.6 metres on its outer slope. The rampart is fronted by a ditch which is on average 2.9 metres wide and 1 metre deep. The ditch is in turn fronted by a counterscarp bank of about 1 metre in height which merges with the natural hill-side on its outer slope. The narrow elongated entrance is formed by a twin extension of the ramparts at the north western end producing a bottleneck passageway some 100 metres long which has a sunken appearance. A scarped platform which overlooks the hill-slope to the west would appear to have provided additional cover for the western approaches to the passageway. A least one hoard of sling stones has been recovered from the monument in the 19th century. Some banking which forms an enclosure within the monument in its south eastern corner is almost certainly post-medieval in origin as are the depressions caused by two ponds located in the interior. Scheduled.
More information : (SY 12849134) Sidbury Castle (NAT) Camp (NR) (1)

Sidbury Castle: A kite-shaped hill-fort enclosed within a double rampart separated by a ditch of 8ft maximum depth. The inner rampart is 4ft high, with a 22ft escarpment, the outer one falls of on the natural hill slope. Small semi-circular platforms project from about the centre of each of the outer vallums on the long sides. Paths cross the southwest and east ramparts. A narrow elongated entrance formed by a 200 feet long extension of the ramparts at the northwest end of the fort confines a sunken road on a steep slope. The fort is the largest in the district being 1 300 feet long exclusive of the narrow entrance and up to 400 feet wide. A natural ditch over 600 feet in length has been formed by high ground within the south corner. Two perennial ponds one at each side, exist within the interior. (2)

In 1864 over a barrow load of sling stones were found in a cavity on the outside slope, of the southwest flank inner rampart. (3)

Sling stones from Sidbury castle are in Exeter Museum: Accession No A361. (4)

SY 128913. Schedule; Devon 254. (5)

This well preserved Iron Age defended settlement comprises a contour - following rampart, ditch and counter-scarp bank, with an east entrance. There is a pronounced quarry ditch around most of the interior. The outer slope of the ramparts averages 4.8m high, the inner slope has been cut back for part of its length to form a nearly vertical 1.2m high earth wall or hedge. The 1.2m deep ditch is well defined although silted up in places (SY 12999133 and SY 12979116); its counter-scarp bank merges with the steep natural hill-slope. The "small semi-circular platforms" (2) were not identified.
Published survey 1:2500 revised. (6)

A rapid examination of air photography (7a) shows the earthworks of this hillfort/defended settlement. (7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1963
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Devon : volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 587
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Source Number : 3
Source : Devonshire Association reports and transactions
Source details :
Page(s) : 376
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Vol(s) : 2 (1867)
Source Number : 4
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Miss Susan Pearce, curator of Exeter Museum, 24-SEP-1975
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Source Number : 5
Source : Ancient monuments in England : a list prepared by the Department of the Environment, corrected to 31st December 1971
Source details :
Page(s) : 61
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 MJF 13-NOV-75
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Source Number : 7
Source : RCHME/EH/HE Aerial Photographers comment
Source details : Andrew Miller/11-JUN-1996/RCHME: AP Primary Recording Project
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Source Number : 7a
Source details : NMR, SY 1291/1-7
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Source Number : 8
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 21-Jan-99
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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 : Univallate Hillfort
Evidence : Earthwork, Find
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Enclosure, Pond
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Univallate Hillfort
Object Type : SLING SHOT
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DV 254
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 29658
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SY 19 SW 17
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, SIDBURY CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1852-01-01
End Date : 1852-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SY 19 SW 16
Start Date : 1975-11-13
End Date : 1975-11-13
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: AIR PHOTOGRAPH PRIMARY RECORDING PROJECT 1992-1996
Start Date : 1992-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31