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HER Number:MDV7996
Name:Holne Chase Castle

Summary

A slight univallate hillfort situated on the north facing side of Holne Chase overlooking the River Dart. The hillfort survives as an oval enclosure measuring 120m long by 96m wide internally, defined by a single rampart and ditch with a counterscarp bank present to the north east, west and south west. It has two entrances, a simple gap to the south east and an inturned entrance to the south west.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 724 719
Map Sheet:SX77SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishHolne
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishHOLNE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 77 SW 14
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX77SW/24
  • Old SAM County Ref: 251
  • Pastscape: 445282

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HILLFORT (Late Iron Age - 100 BC to 42 AD (Between))

Full description

Amery, P. F. S., 1873, Some Hitherto Unrecorded Hillfortresses near Ashburton, 264 (Article in Serial). SDV164509.

Holne Chase Castle comprises some 3.5 acres. The defence consists of a rampart and outer ditch, the former extant for three fourths of the circumference. The defences are strongest on the south. There is an entrance in the south-west corner where the rampart inturns, and in the opposite end of the rampart is a circular excavation. This is 22 feet in diameter at the top and is lined with a dry stone wall, with an opening towards the entrance.

Amery, P. F. S., 1905, 24th Report of the Scientific Memoranda Committee, 81 (Article in Serial). SDV164510.

The pottery found on this site appears to be the bottom of an earthen jar.

Victoria County History, 1906, The Victoria History of the County of Devon, 596-597, plan. (Article in Serial). SDV238214.

Holne Chase Castle, Holne. Commanding the Dart Valley, is a perfect earthwork, roughly circular in shape with a single rampart and ditch. It is probably of late Iron Age date.

Allcroft, A. H., 1908, Earthwork of England, 189-190, plan (Monograph). SDV11975.

Allcroft discusses and illustrates the form of the entrance, which he says would accommodate a guardhouse.

Amery, J. S., 1924, (Presidential Address) The Ashburton of past days: its manners, customs and inhabitants, 44 (Article in Serial). SDV315287.

J. S. Amery quotes P. F. S. Amery's description (1873) but says of the gap in the south-west that it is uncertain whether an original entrance or a later mutilation.

Pilkington-Rogers, C. W, 1932, The Date of the Dartmoor Antiquities, 384, 385, 386 (Article in Serial). SDV149513.

Brailsford, J. W., 1938, Bronze Age Stone Monuments of Dartmoor, 456 (Article in Serial). SDV304210.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, 2382 (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.

Fox, A, 1950, Two Greek Silver Coins from Holne, South Devon, 153-155 (Article in Serial). SDV164514.

Fox refers to Holne Chase camp as probably comparatively wealthy as a result of trade, possibly in tin of which there are local deposits. She notes that the Dart is navigable up to totnes only 8 miles south of Holne.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1960, SX77SW14 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV164512.

(24/05/1960) Both gaps in the defences, south-west and south-east are probably original but that to the south-west has been badly mutilated by quarrying. There is now no trace of the dry stone wall recorded by P. F. S. Amery.

Sayer, S., 1981, Damage to Holne Chase Castle (Correspondence). SDV164513.

(March 1981) Condition of earthwork still good. A road cuts the rampart in two places, including the 'postern' gateway (south-eastern side of fort), which has been enlarged and damaged. Lady Sayer suggests damage due to forestry vehicles.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1981, Damage to Holne Chase Castle (SAM County No. 251) (Correspondence). SDV164499.

(11/03/1981) Greeves confirms Lady S. Sayer's notification of damage to the monument, although the cut through the north side of the earthwork is on the north-east side, not north-west as shown on Sayer's plan.
Gap A (north-east side of earthwork) is a cut 3m wide, exposing a vertical section of the inner rampart approximately 1m in height. The section shows the rampart is constructed of loose earth and 'shale' fragments. The material from this cut appears to have been pushed into the ditch between the two ramparts, making a more or less level track. The outer rampart has also been cut through but the damage is less here, perhaps due to the pre-existing footpath here leading north. The new gap is aligned north-south. Damage appears recent (within last five years) and inner rampart is still quite fresh.
Gap B (south-east side of earthwork); the original entrance here has been widened to approximately 3m. Some damage has occurred to both the inner and outer ramparts, exposing vertical sections of a maximum height of 0.5m. Some material also appears to have been pushed in the ditch. In general, the damage is less here than on the north side of the earthwork, due to the pre-existing entrance at this point.
A track now exists through the monument between points A and B but no significant damage appears to have occurred here.
On the south side of the earthwork, a 'ride' has recently been widened. The north side of this ride is in places very close to the top of the south side of the ditch and a greater margin of undisturbed ground should have been left between the two.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

The earthworks are not visible from the air but the outline of the fort is visible through tree cover. The outline of the hillfort has been traced from the 1:10,560 Ordnance Survey map.

Riley, H., 1996, Holne Chase Castle, Holne, Devonshire (Report - Survey). SDV164507.

Holne Chase Castle was surveyed at 1:1000 scale at the end of the winter, after initial clearance of the rhododendron that had masked a large proportion of the earthworks, which are generally well preserved.
The defences form an oval enclosure of approximately 1 hectare, comprising rampart and ditch, with external bank around the south-west entrance and in the western section of the defences. Rampart is absent for part of the north-western sector. The original rampart on the north-west may have been removed by quarrying. Defences are uniform except on the southern side, between the two entrances, where they are more massive. Average total width of the defences is 15m, 20m on the south side, where the rampart is 4m high and the ditch 4m deep. Indications of "gang" construction.
The defences are breached in three places. The small gap close to the north-east angle is a later breach, caused by a modern track crossing the interior. The original entrance on the south-east side is a simple 5m wide gap. The entrance in the south-west angle is also original but has been disturbed by quarrying which makes it look more complex than it actually is.
The interior (although partially cleared of rhododendrons) is still partly obscured by ground conditions. Several features were noted however; four heaps of stones (noted by Amery, 1873) and two rectangular depressions, one with a spoil heap. The heaps may be related to stone removal from the site, the depressions may be unrecorded excavation trenches.
A woodland bank joins the hillfort from the south-east, follows the ditch round its east side before turning to run east.

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

Ordnance Survey, 2020, MasterMap 2020 (Cartographic). SDV363413.

Historic England, 2020, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV363414.

A slight univallate hillfort situated on the north facing side of Holne Chase overlooking the River Dart. The hillfort survives as an oval enclosure measuring 120m long by 96m wide internally, defined by a single rampart and ditch with a counterscarp bank present to the north east, west and south west. It has two entrances, a simple gap to the south east and an inturned entrance to the south west. See designation record for full details,

Sources / Further Reading

SDV11975Monograph: Allcroft, A. H.. 1908. Earthwork of England. Earthwork of England. Unknown. 189-190, plan.
SDV149513Article in Serial: Pilkington-Rogers, C. W. 1932. The Date of the Dartmoor Antiquities. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 64. A5 Hardback. 384, 385, 386.
SDV164499Correspondence: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1981. Damage to Holne Chase Castle (SAM County No. 251). Letter. Digital.
SDV164507Report - Survey: Riley, H.. 1996. Holne Chase Castle, Holne, Devonshire. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey.
SDV164509Article in Serial: Amery, P. F. S.. 1873. Some Hitherto Unrecorded Hillfortresses near Ashburton. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 6. Digital. 264.
SDV164510Article in Serial: Amery, P. F. S.. 1905. 24th Report of the Scientific Memoranda Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 37. Digital. 81.
SDV164512Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1960. SX77SW14. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Unknown.
SDV164513Correspondence: Sayer, S.. 1981. Damage to Holne Chase Castle. Letter. dog.
SDV164514Article in Serial: Fox, A. 1950. Two Greek Silver Coins from Holne, South Devon. Antiquaries Journal. 30. Unknown. 153-155.
SDV169268Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2382.
SDV238214Article in Serial: Victoria County History. 1906. The Victoria History of the County of Devon. Victoria History of the County of Devon. 1. Unknown. 596-597, plan..
SDV304210Article in Serial: Brailsford, J. W.. 1938. Bronze Age Stone Monuments of Dartmoor. Antiquity. 12, Issue 48. Digital. 456.
SDV315287Article in Serial: Amery, J. S.. 1924. (Presidential Address) The Ashburton of past days: its manners, customs and inhabitants. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 56. Unknown. 44.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV360888Website: Ralston, I. + Lock, G.. 2017. Atlas of Hillforts. https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/. Website.
SDV363413Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap 2020. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #125306 ]
SDV363414National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2020. National Heritage List for England. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV128116Related to: Earthwork running south of Holne Chase Castle (Monument)
MDV13745Related to: Outwork in Chase Wood, Holne (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8268 - Survey of Holne Chase Castle

Date Last Edited:Apr 14 2020 4:00PM