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HER Number:MDV17723
Name:Complex Ditched Enclosure on Knowle Hill


A ditched enclosure of possible later prehistoric or Roman date is visible as a dark complex cropmark on aerial photographs taken between 1975 and 1995.


Grid Reference:SX 923 894
Map Sheet:SX98NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishExeter
Ecclesiastical ParishUNKNOWN

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Prehistoric or medieval enclosure and field boundary north west of Matford Barton

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 447945
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX98NW/71

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • DITCHED ENCLOSURE (Early Bronze Age to Late Medieval - 2200 BC to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

DPRFP, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV262469.

Vis=10/2/1989 (robinson) site lies in slight terrace in moderate nw slope.(dprfp).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV307553.

Visible on dap of july 1984.

APH, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV307555.

Enclosure recorded on 1992 aps. Appears possibly as a double ditch enclosure with assymmetrical extruding entrance (aph).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV307557.


Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV307558.

Aph=dap/ar 9(3/7/1984).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV307559.

Aph=dap/ez 7(10/7/1985).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV307560.

Des=dprfp 1989(and photo j 32).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV307561.

Aph=dap/ve 11-15(26/6/1992).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV307562.


Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV307563.

Aph=dap/nr 13/(4/7/1989).

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Untitled Source (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV24.

Vis=23/9/1982 (os) the cropmarks lie on the west facing slope of a pasture field about 30m od; nothing is visible on the ground. The regular shape of the cropmarks can be compared to sx98nw113 and to the ia/rb complex sx98nw14 (os).

Griffith, F. M., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV8774.

On knowle hill, matford. Cambridge air photographs show a cropmark enclosure. This shows three sides of a square. The fourth side then curves round the back then down the side across the front. In the 'front' side, there is an entrance. Presumably this arrangement is some sort of stock enclosure. All the ditches of the enclosure seem to be of roughly the same size. The alphington-exminster parish boundary cuts across a corner to include this site in alphington parish. The boundary curves round parallel with and a few yards from the curving antenna of the enclosure. This suggests that the boundary is very ancient, or the enclosure relatively modern, possibly medieval (griffith).

Cambridge University, 1975, CUCAP BTS, Devon County Council CUCAP BTS45 03-JUL-1975 (Aerial Photograph). SDV2407.

The enclosure is clearly visible as a dark cropmark on frames 45 and 47.

Ordnance Survey, 1992, OS/92196 V, OS/92196 V 085-086 14-Jun-1992 (Aerial Photograph). SDV355002.

A complex dark cropmark enclosure is visible.

Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2014-2015, East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV356883.

The ditched enclosure on Knowle Hill is visible as a dark complex cropmark on aerial photographs taken between 1975 and 1995. The cropmarks vary in width between 1.5 and 2.5 metres covering circa 55 by 45 metres of the north-west facing slope. The enclosure is broadly rectilinear, with a splayed opening on the east side that seems to spiral out from a smaller internal area 31 by 33 metres in extent, creating an additional (outer) ditch on the north and east sides. However it is possible that some parts of this feature have been differentially impacted by ploughing, and it may once have been a double ditched enclosure of which only some parts are visible as cropmarks. A 3 metre gap in the eastern wall of the inner enclosure may be an additional access point. A small spur in the south-west corner could indicate internal subdivision, or could perhaps have been part of an inner enclosure.
This has been interpreted as possibly medieval in date, since the cropmark of a removed field boundary to the east appears to curve around the side of the enclosure. However this boundary may be of some antiquity as it corresponds to the parish boundary; if remains of the enclosure had still been visible when it was set out then this boundary may well have respected or avoided the enclosure. The enclosure could therefore be of later prehistoric or Romano-British origin. Further work is recommended to establish the chracter, survival and date of this site.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV24Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV2407Aerial Photograph: Cambridge University. 1975. CUCAP BTS. Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs. Photograph (Paper). Devon County Council CUCAP BTS45 03-JUL-1975.
SDV262469Migrated Record: DPRFP.
SDV307553Migrated Record:
SDV307555Migrated Record: APH.
SDV307557Migrated Record:
SDV307558Aerial Photograph:
SDV307559Aerial Photograph:
SDV307560Migrated Record:
SDV307561Aerial Photograph:
SDV307562Aerial Photograph:
SDV307563Aerial Photograph:
SDV355002Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1992. OS/92196 V. Ordnance Survey. Photograph (Paper). OS/92196 V 085-086 14-Jun-1992. [Mapped feature: #82098 ]
SDV356883Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2014-2015. East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV8774Migrated Record: Griffith, F. M..

Associated Monuments

MDV60783Related to: Linear Feature north-west of Matford Barton (Monument)
MDV17714Related to: Prehistoric Barrow Cemetery West of Matford Barton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6530 - The East and Mid-Devon Rivers Catchment NMP project (Ref: ACD613)

Date Last Edited:Feb 15 2016 10:38AM