HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.


HER Number:MDV10840
Name:Blackbury Castle, Southleigh

Summary

Good example of a univallate hillfort with a massive flint built rampart and deep outer ditch. The original entrance is on the south side and is slightly out-turned with a triangular outer defence or barbican.

Location

Grid Reference:SY 187 923
Map Sheet:SY19SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishSouthleigh
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSOUTHLEIGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • MPP Archaeological Item Dataset: 133499
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY19SE/47
  • Old SAM County Ref: 89
  • Old SAM Ref: 24116
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SY19SE14
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: 429/2008
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: EXE/12/1956

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HILLFORT (Constructed, Early Iron Age to I - 700 BC to 100 AD (Between))

Full description

Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry (Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry). SDV263.

Blackberry Castle. Iron Age. This is a splendid univallate hillfort with a massive flint built rampart and deep outer ditch. On the south side is the original entrance, which is slightly out-turned and originally contained a timber gateway which was probably bridged. To this entrance was added a triangular outer defence or barbican which was never completed. The present gaps in the north, west and east are recent. The site, which is in the care of the Department of the Environment, is in a beech plantation, clear of undergrowth. It was excavated by the Devon Archaeological Society between 1952 and 1954, under the direction of Mr. A. N. Young and Miss E. Richardson.

Hutchinson, P. O., 1848-1894, Diaries (Un-published). SDV339321.

Hutchinson visited the site on 14th June 1849, 19th September 1859 and 24th Aprill 1873. He referred to quarrying in 1859 and finds of burnt flints. In 1873 most trees in the interior of the fort had been felled and the field ploughed for the 'first time' producing flint flakes.

Hutchinson, P. O., 1862, On the Hill Fortresses, Tumuli, and some other Antiquities of Eastern Devon (Article in Serial). SDV338169.

Other details: Plan.

Kirwan, R., 1871, The Prehistoric Archaeology of East Devon, 648 (Article in Serial). SDV135842.

Oval in form, enclosed by a single agger and fosse, 10.8 metres deep on the south-west. Measures about 208 metres east-west and 100 metres north-south. The gateway is flanked by a ditch and rampart on either side.

Murray, J, 1872, Untitled Source, 64 (Monograph). SDV345771.

This is an oval camp defended by an agger and fosse and provided with an unusual entrenchment to protect the south entrance.

Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 600-601 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

Other details: Plan.

Allcroft, A. H., 1908, Earthwork of England, 198-9 (Monograph). SDV11975.

Other details: Plan.

Worth, R. H., 1927, Proceedings at the 66th Annual Meeting, 27-28 (Article in Serial). SDV338184.

Office of Works, 1930, Blackbury Castle (Schedule Document). SDV345783.

An oval camp defended by agger and fosse and provided with unusual entrenchments to protect the southern entrance. The whole is overgrown with trees and bushes but appears to be as described in the Victoria County History.

Radford, C. + Radford, R., 1935, Fourteenth Report on Ancient Monuments, 76 (Article in Serial). SDV135854.

Wheeler, R. E. M., 1937, The Excavation of Maiden Castle, Dorset. Third Interim Report, 269 (Article in Serial). SDV345772.

Wheeler compares the east entrance to Maiden Castle with the simpler by strikingly similar southern entrance to Blackbury Castle.

Fox, A., 1953, 20th Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon, 171 (Article in Serial). SDV223412.

The fort is a single rampart type but is distinguished by a barbican entrance passage flanked by subsidiary enclosures. Sections thorugh the main rampart showed it to be of dump construction, not revetted. At the entrance, which was flanked by two large postholes, there was evidence that the rampart ends had been retained by a wattle and daub construction.

Young, A. + Richardson, K. M., 1953 - 1958, Report on the Excavations at Blackbury Castle, 43-67 (Article in Serial). SDV345770.

This is an Iron Age A and Iron Age B agricultural stockade; the slender evidence of occupation implies intermittent use by a people whose habitation was elsewhere. It is situated on a promontory, extending eastwards from the broad down plateau, straddling the ridge where it is relatively narrow. It is defended by a single bank and ditch forming a 'D' shaped enclosure with a barbican to the south. Probably of the first century AD. Iron Age A pottery has rounded shoulders, outcurved rim and is slipped and burnished. Weak shouldered situalate jars with flat topped rims. Coarse; some show pressed finger decoration and foot ring. There are three fragments with furrowed decoration. Iron Age B pottery is a finer paste, chestnut coloured slip, tooled small undecorated bowl forms, swelling rims, some bevelled and folded over. The decorated work shows signs of slow wheel manufacture. One fragment has a Breton characteristic. Some show true Glastonbury style. Excavations within enclosure revealed site of hut with nearby palisade, trenches, cooking pit, oven, a hoard of slingstones and a heap of stoneless clay. Found within the total area of the enclosure and barbican were 15 lumps of iron slag, which suggested nearby iron smelting, over a thousand slingstones, 4 whetstones, two spindle whorls, one of which was unfinished, two minute fragments of bronze and 4 worked flints. The authors note also that the entrance opens to good pasture and water supply, and that the surface of gravel in the entrance was brought up from the stream below.

Fox, A., 1954, Twenty-First Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon, 275-276 (Article in Serial). SDV147928.

Fox, A., 1955, Twenty-Second Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon, 322 (Article in Serial). SDV148060.

Richardson, K. M., 1957, Untitled Source, 165 (Article in Serial). SDV345778.

Peacock, D. P. S., 1969, A Contribution to the Study of Glastonbury Ware form South-Western Britain, 47,52,58 (Article in Serial). SDV135837.

Grinsell, L. V., 1970, Discovering Regional Archaeology: South Western England, 21 (Monograph). SDV304192.

Dyer, J., 1973, Untitled Source, 55 (Monograph). SDV345779.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1975 - 1980, SY19SE14 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV345769.

Site visit 19th November 1975. Iron Age defended settlement very well preserved. The rampart averages 1.8 metres high internally, where there are vestiges of a quarry ditch, and 4.8 metres high externally with a 1.1 metre deep outer ditch. Three modern gaps occup in the rampart.

Robinson, R., 1982, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1982 (Un-published). SDV345608.

Site visit by Department of Environment Field Monument Warden on 29th November 1982. The interior of this guardianship site is now in good condition. No sign of any surface damage caused by horse riding which had been reported in 1981-2.

Grinsell, L. V., 1983, The Barrows of South and East Devon, 43 (Article in Serial). SDV337013.

Two barrows recorded by Hutchinson (his numbers 79 and 80) are likely to be part of the defences of the hillfort.

Eastwood, C., 1984, Blackberry Castle (Worksheet). SDV345773.

Woollcombe visited the site on 25th August 1841. He describes it as oval in shape with a round projection to the south and a single ditch and bank. Finds of vitrified flint. Metal spearheads found in camp. Barrows in vicinity. Circa 5 acres. Plan in Manuscript. Other details: Woollcombe MS, p18-19, Devon & Exeter Institution,.

Robinson, R., 1986, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1986 (Un-published). SDV345664.

Site visit by Department of Environment Field Monument Warden on 6th March 1986.

Hawkes, J., 1986, Untitled Source, 126 (Monograph). SDV345780.

Simpson, S. J. + Noble, S., 1993, Archaeological Survey and Management Study of Areas on Gittisham Hill, Farway Hill, and Broad Down, East Devon (Report - Survey). SDV123162.

Simpson, S. J., 1993, Report on monitoring of Scar Repairs at Blackbury Camp, East Devon (Report - non-specific). SDV345775.

Programme of scar repairs undertaken by BTCV in 1993. Supervised by Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit on behalf of English Heritage. The most seriously eroded scar (collapsed excavation trench infill) was plugged by sandbags filled with material from the trench, covered with soil and reseeded. Other scars were treated with sandbags, turf or scrub collected ro the area.

Gerrard, H., 1993, Untitled Source, 133499 (Un-published). SDV345776.

Large Iron Age univallate hillfort known as Blackbury Castle. Hillfort includes an oval bank and associated outer ditch surrounding an internal area measuring 186 metres east-west by 90 metres north-south. The rampart is composed of an unrevetted flint rubble bank measuring up to 10 metres wide, 1.8 metres high internally and 4.8 metres high externally. The substantial outer ditch measures up to 9.1 metres wide and 2.4 metres deep. The entrance to the hillfort lies on the s side, is slightly out turned and originally contained a timber gateway which was probably bridged. At a later date, a triangular outer defence including two separate lengths of ditch and rampart were added together with a narrow funnel shaped entrance passage measuring 61 metres long and defined on either side by 2.5 metres wide and 1 metres high banks. It is considered that the triangular enclosure may also have been utilised to corral animals. Gaps in the north, east and west circuit are considered to represent the result of more recent activity and are therefore probably not original features. The hillfort was excavated between 1952 and 1954 by the Devon Archaeological Society and this work revealed the site of a hut, an associated palisade, various trenches, a cooking pit, oven, a hoard of slingstones and a heap of clay. Finds from the excavation included numerous sherds of Iron Age pottery, 15 lumps of iron slag, over 1000 slingstones, 4 whetstones, 2 spindle whorls, 2 bronze fragments and 4 worked flints.

Grant, N., 1995, The Occupation of Hillforts in Devon during the Late Roman and Post Roman Periods, 102 (Article in Serial). SDV7954.

Department of National Heritage, 1996, Blackbury Castle Hillfort (Schedule Document). SDV345781.

This monument includes a large Iron Age univallate hillfort known as Blackbury Castle which straddles an east to west spur leading from the Broad Down plateau and overlooks valleys formed by tributaries of the River Coly. The hillfort has a bank and associated outer ditch surrounding an oval internal area measuring 186 metres east to west by 90 metres north to south. The rampart is composed of an unrevetted flint rubble bank measuring up to 10 metres wide, 1.8 metres high internally and 4.8 metres high externally. The outer ditch measures up to 12 metres wide and 1.1 metres deep. The entrance to the hillfort lies on the southern side, is slightly out-turned and originally contained a timber gateway which was probbly bridged. At a later date, a triangular outer defence including two separate lengths of ditch and rampart were added together with a narrow funnel shaped entrance passage measuring 50 metres long and defined on either side by 2.5 metres wide and 1 metre high banks. Gaps in the northern, eastern and western circuit of the hillfot are considered to represent the result of more recent activity and are, therefore, probably not original features. Within the interior of the fort, are two rectangular building platforms built up against the rampart face. The eastern structure measures 10.5 metres long, 7.3 metres wide and stands up to 0.7 metres high, whilst the western one is 9 metres long, 6 metres wide and 0.4 metres high. These features probably represent the site of medieval or post medieval buldings and may be connected with some of the more recent breaches in the rampart. The hillfort was partly excavated between 1952 and 1954 by the Devon Archaeological Society and this work revealed the site of a hut, an associated palisade, various trenches, a cooking pit, oven, a hoard of slingstones and a heap of clay. Finds form the excavation included numerous sherds of Iron Age pottery, 15 lumps of iron slag, over a thousand slingstones, four whetstones, two spindle whorls, two bronze fragments an four worked flints.

Fox, A., 1996, Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon, 21 (Monograph). SDV7958.

Weddell, P. J., 1998, Blackbury Castle, Devon (Report - non-specific). SDV345777.

Site visit on 10th February 1998 to observe possible damage caused by a fallen tree. The depth of the disturbance was found, however, to be slight, the area disturbed being circa 2 metres by 1.5 metres. No archaeological features were visible and no finds were made.

Quinnell, H., 1998, Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey, DBID:1452 (Report - Survey). SDV336212.

Circa 100 sherds of Early and Middle/Late Iron Age pot were recovered during excavation. Also recovered was a non-ceramic stone whorl. Now in Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter.

Cobley, G. P., 2002, Musbury Castle (Un-published). SDV338764.

Exeter Archaeology, 2003-2004, East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey, 407 (Archive - Survey). SDV351568.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Griffith, F. M. + Wilkes, E. M., 2011, In the Footsteps of Pioneering Women; Some Recent Work on Devon Hillforts (Article in Serial). SDV361500.

Griffith, F.M. + Quinnell, H. + Wilkes, E, 2013, Hillforts of Devon, 16-19 (Monograph). SDV352457.

A univallate enclosure of about 2 hectares with a single entrance on its south side where there is a smaller, adjoining triangular enclosure, or barbican. The ramparts have been damaged by the removal of material from them.
The results of excavations in 1952-4 concluded that the main rampart was single phase and that the barbican was an addition. Two postholes about 5.0 metres apart, found at the outer entrance to the barbican, were interpreted as gateposts.
The date of the construction of the hillfort is not easy to establish. Early Iron Age ceramics were found mixed with Middle Iron Age South West Decorated ware at different levels in each of the trenches cut into the rampart.
Several trenches were also dug during the 1950s excavations to examine the interior but only one revealed any evidence of activity, namely a scatter of postholes and the base of a clay oven.
See guide booklet for further information.

Tilley, C., 2017, Landscape in the Longue Durée, 299-319, tables 9.1-9.5, figs 9.7-9.17 (Monograph). SDV361032.

Discussion of Woodbury Castle and the other hillforts in the locality, making reference to the East Devon pebblebeds.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV11975Monograph: Allcroft, A. H.. 1908. Earthwork of England. Earthwork of England. Unknown. 198-9.
SDV123162Report - Survey: Simpson, S. J. + Noble, S.. 1993. Archaeological Survey and Management Study of Areas on Gittisham Hill, Farway Hill, and Broad Down, East Devon. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 93.38. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV135837Article in Serial: Peacock, D. P. S.. 1969. A Contribution to the Study of Glastonbury Ware form South-Western Britain. Antiquaries Journal. 49. Unknown. 47,52,58.
SDV135842Article in Serial: Kirwan, R.. 1871. The Prehistoric Archaeology of East Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 4. Unknown. 648.
SDV135854Article in Serial: Radford, C. + Radford, R.. 1935. Fourteenth Report on Ancient Monuments. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 67. A5 Hardback. 76.
SDV147928Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1954. Twenty-First Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 86. A5 Hardback. 275-276.
SDV148060Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1955. Twenty-Second Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 87. A5 Paperback. 322.
SDV223412Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1953. 20th Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 85. A5 Hardback. 171.
SDV263Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry: Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry.
SDV304192Monograph: Grinsell, L. V.. 1970. Discovering Regional Archaeology: South Western England. Discovering Regional Archaeology: South Western England. Paperback. 21.
SDV336212Report - Survey: Quinnell, H.. 1998. Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey. Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey. A4 Spiral Bound. DBID:1452.
SDV337013Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1983. The Barrows of South and East Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 41. Paperback Volume. 43.
SDV338169Article in Serial: Hutchinson, P. O.. 1862. On the Hill Fortresses, Tumuli, and some other Antiquities of Eastern Devon. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 18. Unknown.
SDV338184Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1927. Proceedings at the 66th Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 59. A5 Hardback. 27-28.
SDV338764Un-published: Cobley, G. P.. 2002. Musbury Castle. Sidmouth College Project Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV339321Un-published: Hutchinson, P. O.. 1848-1894. Diaries. Devon Record Office Collection. Manuscript.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 600-601.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #67774 ]
SDV345608Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1982. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1982. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
SDV345664Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1986. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1986. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
SDV345769Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1975 - 1980. SY19SE14. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV345770Article in Serial: Young, A. + Richardson, K. M.. 1953 - 1958. Report on the Excavations at Blackbury Castle. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 5. Unknown. 43-67.
SDV345771Monograph: Murray, J. 1872. A Handbook for Travellers in Devon and Cornwall. Unknown. 64.
SDV345772Article in Serial: Wheeler, R. E. M.. 1937. The Excavation of Maiden Castle, Dorset. Third Interim Report. Antiquaries Journal. 17. Unknown. 269.
SDV345773Worksheet: Eastwood, C.. 1984. Blackberry Castle. Worksheet.
SDV345775Report - non-specific: Simpson, S. J.. 1993. Report on monitoring of Scar Repairs at Blackbury Camp, East Devon. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 93.20. A4 Stapled.
SDV345776Un-published: Gerrard, H.. 1993. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Digital. 133499.
SDV345777Report - non-specific: Weddell, P. J.. 1998. Blackbury Castle, Devon. Exeter Archaeology Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV345778Article in Serial: Richardson, K. M.. 1957. Archaeological Journal. 114. Unknown. 165.
SDV345779Monograph: Dyer, J.. 1973. Southern England. An Archaeological Guide. Unknown. 55.
SDV345780Monograph: Hawkes, J.. 1986. The Shell Guide to British Archaeology. Unknown. 126.
SDV345781Schedule Document: Department of National Heritage. 1996. Blackbury Castle Hillfort. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV345783Schedule Document: Office of Works. 1930. Blackbury Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV351568Archive - Survey: Exeter Archaeology. 2003-2004. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. Digital + Mixed Archive Material. 407.
SDV352457Monograph: Griffith, F.M. + Quinnell, H. + Wilkes, E. 2013. Hillforts of Devon. Hillforts of Devon. A4 Stapled + Digital. 16-19.
SDV361032Monograph: Tilley, C.. 2017. Landscape in the Longue Durée. Landscape in the Longue Durée. Digital. 299-319, tables 9.1-9.5, figs 9.7-9.17.
SDV361500Article in Serial: Griffith, F. M. + Wilkes, E. M.. 2011. In the Footsteps of Pioneering Women; Some Recent Work on Devon Hillforts. British Archaeological Reports. 548. Paperback Volume.
SDV7954Article in Serial: Grant, N.. 1995. The Occupation of Hillforts in Devon during the Late Roman and Post Roman Periods. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 53. Paperback Volume. 102.
SDV7958Monograph: Fox, A.. 1996. Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon. Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon. Paperback Volume. 21.

Associated Monuments

MDV10844Parent of: BEACON in the Parish of Southleigh (Monument)
MDV10841Parent of: EARTHWORK in the Parish of Southleigh (Monument)
MDV10842Parent of: FINDSPOT in the Parish of Southleigh (Find Spot)
MDV10843Parent of: FINDSPOT in the Parish of Southleigh (Find Spot)
MDV72120Related to: Flint Scatter near Blackbury Castle, Southleigh (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jan 15 2020 12:01PM