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Historic England Research Records

Bury Camp

Hob Uid: 921291
Location :
Leicestershire
Hinckley And Bosworth
Ratby
Grid Ref : SK4981005770
Summary : An earthwork site once interpreted as being a Roman Legionary fortress; though now thought to be a probable Iron Age hillfort. Late Bronze Age and Iron Age pottery and a Roman pottery sherds have been found here. The site was later incorporated into Burgh Medieval Deer Park and may have indeed given the park its name.
More information : (SK 498058) Bury Camp (NR) (1)

A rectangular camp of single vallum & fosse, known as "Ratby
Burrow" or "Bury" Camp: occupies an area of over nine acres.
Rampart 3ft high on north side with escarpment of 38ft into a
ditch with 9ft counterscarp. "At the NE & SW angles the vallum
rises to a greater height and at the former is a fragment of a
slightly raised circular platform". Four of the gaps "are in each
side, are no doubt entrances: so apparently are two other openings
near the eastern angles, that at the northern looked down upon by
the aforesaid platform, and that on the south defended by a rise
in the vallum to 8 ft perpendicular measurement. At point 'C' on
plan (2) is a modern opening". Gould suggests that the earthwork
is pre-Roman. (2-4)

Possible site of the early legionary camp in the neighbourhood of
Leicester. "It may be suggested that the earthworks at Ratby,
of which a plan made by Throsby in 1791 is reproduced on p 4,
may be the actual site. The position is a commanding one on the
hills three miles west of Leicester. The shape of the camp
certainly suggests a Roman rather than an earlier or later origin,
while a small sherd of Roman mortarium was picked up in a
rabbit scrape in 1938. Excavation is obviously necessary to prove
this suggestion". (5)

Bury Camp : a rectangular earthwork consisting of an enclosure
(centred at SK 4980 0575) formed by a large single rampart bank
and outside ditch.
Four gaps, each situated approximately in the centre of the sides
of the enclosure, may represent the original entrances.
There are other, slight, gaps and mutilations in the banks which
appear to be modern.
The bank and ditch are rather more prominent at the NE and SW
corners than elsewhere. (6)


Visited with J B Whitwell 15.6.72.

"The earthworks are very much larger than the aerial photographs
suggest. On the east part of the north side they stand to nearly
5 metres in height, towards the north-east corner. The north-west
corner is however the highest part of the earthwork and here
must be an estimated 6 metres in height.
The ground slopes down from west to east and the area enclosed is
thus not on even ground, so that one can barely see the western part
of the enclosure from the east, within the bank.
There are eight cuts in the bank, those in the west and east sides,
and the one at the north-east corner seem to be original. The latter
leads directly to the pond which must have been the source of water
for the site. Of the other cuts, two on the north and two on the
south side appear from air photographs, notably St. J C.U.008 and
possibly others, to be related to old field boundaries or even to
medieval ridge and furrow which changes direction more or less at the
easterly of the two cuts on the north side. The cut near the south-
east corner also looks comparatively modern.
Nichols thought the site was that of Ratae (vol. 4 pt. 2, p. 877-9
& pl. 141) this plan shows the same breaks in the bank as are now
visible. When one sees the size of the banks, the name Ratae,
basically meaning ramparts or defences, seems far more apt here than
in Leicester. However the Domesday version of the name is Rotebie,
so whether it is etymologically possible to connect Ratby and Ratae
the present writer isn't able to judge.
Thorsby gives the area enclosed as 9 acres 31 poles.
(Supplementary volume to the Leicestershire Views, 1790, pp.
82-3, sketch on latter).
Kenyon thought the shape suggested a Roman rather than earlier or
later origin (authy 5) and a small mortarium fragment was found.
Rivet and Frere still keep the tentative Roman military origin
also.
The present writer shares Mr Baird's opinion that the site
is either Iron Age in origin, not being either regular or level
enough for a Roman fort; or perhaps early medieval with certain
affinities to the scale of earthworks at Sauvey Castle. The views
are not extensive, and are somewhat obscured by trees and no doubt
would have been more so in ancient times. This doesn't really seem
to be a site laid out with strategic positioning in mind. A
number of 35mm photographs of the banks were taken."(a) (7)

Scheduled under Roman Remains. (8)

Article by M Ball: Bury Camp has traditionally been described as a Roman fort. A mortarium sherd was found in 1938 and reported in Kenyon's Jewry Wall Report suggesting the possibility of Roman occupation, recent discoveries of Iron Age and now Late Bronze Age pottery comparable to that from Glen Parva and Glenfield indicate a more complex history. From all the most recent evidence it now looks most likely that the earthworks are those of a univallate 'hill-fort' of the Iron Age period. The identification as a Roman fort has been on general shape and because there are four breaks in the bank. However, only the western entrance appears to be original. The north and south gaps are off-centre and can be attributed to the cutting of an enclosure hedge across the side in 1773, while the eastern gap (again off-centre) was probably cut for access to Hollywell Farm (built c.1745). The earthwork formed part of the land of the farm and the gap would have allowed stock to have been driven into the field conveniently created by the earthworks.
Recent work by A.E. Squires indicates that in the Medieval period
Bury Camp was part -and an important part- of the deer park of Burgh, which, indeed, seems to have taken its name from the earthwork. This park appears to have had a short life, for by the 16th century it is described in the Minister's Accounts for Ratby as merely pasture. Although the broad outlines of the history of this site are undoubtedly correct, the story is a complex one and much more remains
to be discovered. (For Burgh Park see SK 40 NE 9) (9)

SK 495 058 M Ball has found a plain body sherd of handmade calcite
gritted, burnished pottery, immediately outside the northwest corner
of Bury Camp. It is probably Iron Age but could be Anglo-Saxon. (10)

Possible earthwork fort of Iron Age date, seen as
an incomplete rectangular enclosure, defined by 1 ditch,
1 bank, (4 sides visible), 230m by 130m.
Centred at:-SK 4982 0578
Mapped from AP's.
(Morph No. FR.203.2.1)
(11)

SK 498 057. Ratby camp. Scheduled. (12)

Two sherds were found at Bury Camp by M Ball in 1981. The pottery has parallels with that found at Glen Parva and Beeby and may be of late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age date. (13)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1930
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : VCH Leicestershire Vol I (1907) 215 & 253 plan
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Transactions of the Leicestershire Architectural and Archaeological Society
Source details : Article by Michael T Ball, ' Bury Camp, Ratby- a new look at the earthworks', published 1982
Page(s) : 84
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 57, 1981-82
Source Number : 10
Source : Transactions of the Leicestershire Architectural and Archaeological Society
Source details : Note by M Ball, published 1982
Page(s) : 1991
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 57, 1981-1982
Source Number : 11
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : David Macleod/19-JUL-1993/RCHME: National Forest Project
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : English Heritage SAM List Leicestershire March 1994 8
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : Transactions of the Leicestershire Architectural and Archaeological Society
Source details : Note on field work carried out in 1981, by M Ball, published 1981
Page(s) : 118
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 56, 1980-1981
Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : J British Archaeol Assoc (NS) VII 1901 24 (I Chalkley Gould)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Gentlemans Magazine 1773 76
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Jewry Wall Leicester 1948 3 (K M Kenyon)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 RLB 20-JUL-53
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : R L B Work/2O-JUL-1953/Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigator
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : J Baird/15-JUN-1972/Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigator
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Typescript - Bury Camp 15-JUN-1972 - J B Whitwell
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : DOE(IAM) Anc Mons in Eng 1973 134
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Bronze Age
Display Date : Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -700
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
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 : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Bronze Age
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Univallate Hillfort
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Leicestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 40NE Y
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : LE 39
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : MORPH2
External Cross Reference Number : FR.203.2
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SK 40 NE 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 40 NE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1953-07-20
End Date : 1953-07-20
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 40 NE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1972-06-15
End Date : 1972-06-15
Associated Activities : RCHME: NATIONAL FOREST PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1992-08-19
End Date : 1995-03-31