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HER Number:MDV7776
Name:Hembury Castle Hillfort

Summary

Hembury castle. Ia hill fort with medieval castle within. Hill fort in hembury woods, south east of holne. A camp situated on the summit with a good view to the south and east. The main camp consists of an irregular area surrounded by a fosse and vallum with a small rampart on the outer side of the fosse. The height from the top of the vallum to the bottom of the fosse is between 25-30 feet, and the area is about 7 acres. On the west side near the ditch is a mound about 30m in diameter and about 20 feet high. This is surrounded by a level platform with a scarped edge descending to the level of the interior of the camp. This may be of a later date than the main ramparts. A bronze celt and some sling stones have been found within the area of the camp. The whole is on an enclosed moor with some trees growing on the area of the mound (ancient monuments).

Location

Grid Reference:SX 726 684
Map Sheet:SX76NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishWest Buckfastleigh
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishBUCKFASTLEIGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX76NW/1
  • Old SAM County Ref: 141

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HILLFORT (Iron Age - 700 BC to 42 AD (Between))

Full description

Woollcombe, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV159073.

Vis=-/9/1840 (woollcombe) irregular enclosure of c.7 acres (c.2250ft x 230ft) with second enclosure (c.175ft x 200ft) and mound in sw corner. Ramparts entire on south, west and north, c.40ft wide. Finds of 'sling stones' c.3" diam (woollcombe).


Ancient Monuments, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171753.

Hembury castle. Ia hill fort with medieval castle within. Hill fort in hembury woods, south east of holne. A camp situated on the summit with a good view to the south and east. The main camp consists of an irregular area surrounded by a fosse and vallum with a small rampart on the outer side of the fosse. The height from the top of the vallum to the bottom of the fosse is between 25-30 feet, and the area is about 7 acres. On the west side near the ditch is a mound about 30m in diameter and about 20 feet high. This is surrounded by a level platform with a scarped edge descending to the level of the interior of the camp. This may be of a later date than the main ramparts. A bronze celt and some sling stones have been found within the area of the camp. The whole is on an enclosed moor with some trees growing on the area of the mound (ancient monuments).


GRINSELL 1976, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171755.

The defence of the fort was left to ladies who welcomed the enemy, took them to their beds, and stabbed them all in the night (grinsell 1976).


FOX, 1950, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171757.

Fox refers to hembury camp and to its comparative wealth, probably as a result of trade, in britain and with overseas traders, in tin, of which there are local deposits. She notes that the dart is navigable up to totnes only 8 miles south of holne (fox, 1950).


1765, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171759.

Shown on donn's map (1765).


RCHM APP 1985, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171760.

Recorded on raf 1946 ap (rchm app 1985).


RCHME, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV171764.

Vis=21/7/1988 (sainsbury) survey at 1:2500 produced (rchme).


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171765.

Osa=sx76nw7/plan and sections.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171766.

Grinsell, l. V. /folklore of prehistoric sites in britain/(1976)96.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171767.

Wall, j. C. /vch. Devon/1(1906)618/plan.617.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171768.

Amery, p. F. S. /tda/6(1873)265.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171769.

Allcroft, h. /earthwork of england/(1908)415-6, fig 132.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171770.

Davidson, j. /antiquities of devonshire/(1861)19.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171771.

Silvester, r. J. /pdas/37(1979)181 fig.1/the relationship of first millennium settlement to the upland areas of the south west.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171772.

Wilkinson, j. G. /jbaa/18(1862)126/on british remains at dartmoor.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171773.

Fox, a. /antiq. J. /30(1950)153-155/two greek silver coins from holne, south devon.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171774.

Pilkington-rogers, c. W. /tda/64(1932)385 map/the date of the dartmoor antiquities.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171775.

Des=map of devon(1765)/b. Donn.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171776.

Allcroft, a. H. /earthwork of england/(1908)415-6/plan.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171777.

Des=survey drawing(1:500) and profiles by national trust(circa 1983)/in smr map tank.


Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV171778.

Aph=raf/cpe/uk/1890 4373-4(10/12/1946).


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171779.

Des=woolcombe ms(1840s) in d + e inst.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171780.

Des=extract from 1906 os 25" map in parish file.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171781.

Pearce, s. M. /bronze age metalwork of sw britain/(1983)459(bar 120).


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171782.

Des=1,1000 map in smr.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171783.

Doe/smc letter/(22/2/1985)in smr.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171784.

Des=measured survey/rchme/(21/7/1988)/in smr.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV171785.

Fox, a. /prehistoric hillforts in devon/(1996)37-38.


Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV171786.

Aph=dap/qg 11-15/(14/3/1990).


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

Vis=27/5/1960 (os) a contour hillfort, formed by a double rampart which extends for the whole of the perimeter though much of the inner rampart has been destroyed. The outer rampart on the counterscarp bank is weakest on the north east where natural slopes afford some protection. A number of small causeways occur in the deep medial ditch. These are not modern and may represent the limits of sections of work during the original construction or subsequent deepening which may have taken place during a possible medieval phase of occupation. The original entrance appears to be on the south east and is of simple type. Three other breaks in the defences, on the south east, the north and the west are of much later date and carry footpaths in modern use.


Department of Environment, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV326355.

Smc granted for breaking soil and sowing grass following scrub clearance (doe).


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV533.

Bronze 'celt'. Found with sling-stones within the camp. No further details known (pearce).


Silvester, R. J., 1977, Earthwork (Worksheet). SDV8568.

Hembury castle primarily a defensive structure utilising strong natural position where topography and altitude outweighed economic considerations (silvester).


Devon Archaeological Society, 1999, Hembury Castle, Buckfastleigh (Leaflet). SDV340355.


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


Ralston, I. + Lock, G., 2017, Atlas of Hillforts (Website). SDV360888.

Sources / Further Reading

  • Migrated Record: Woollcombe.
  • Migrated Record: Ancient Monuments.
  • Migrated Record: GRINSELL 1976.
  • Migrated Record: FOX, 1950.
  • Migrated Record: 1765.
  • Migrated Record: RCHM APP 1985.
  • Report - Survey: RCHME.
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  • Aerial Photograph:
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  • Aerial Photograph:
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
  • Migrated Record: Department of Environment.
  • Leaflet: Devon Archaeological Society. 1999. Hembury Castle, Buckfastleigh. Field Guide. 13. Leaflet.
  • Website: Ralston, I. + Lock, G.. 2017. Atlas of Hillforts. https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/. Website.
  • Article 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.
  • Migrated Record:
  • Worksheet: Silvester, R. J.. 1977. Earthwork. Worksheet + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV7851Related to: Flint implements found near Hembury Castle (Monument)
MDV7777Related to: Hembury Castle Motte and Bailey (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV5925 - AXE HEAD (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2200 BC to 42 AD?)
  • FDV5924 - SLING SHOT (Iron Age - 700 BC to 42 AD?)

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jun 28 2018 11:19AM