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HER Number:MDV921
Name:Burridge Hill Fort


Burridge Hill Fort also known as Burridge Camp and Roborough Castle an Iron Age hillfort with an outwork to the east which may have been the site of the Saxon burh of Pilton


Grid Reference:SS 569 351
Map Sheet:SS53NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishPilton West
Civil ParishShirwell
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishPILTON
Ecclesiastical ParishSHIRWELL

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 33788
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53NE/8
  • Old SAM County Ref: 419
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS53NE1

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HILLFORT (Early Iron Age to Saxon - 700 BC to 1065 AD (Between))

Full description

Woollcombe, H., 1839-1850, Woollcombe Manuscript (Un-published). SDV16214.

Sub-rectangular, single ditch except on south where additional ditch (circa 60 - 90 metres long). Field bank across middle. Plan in manuscript.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Camp (Remains of)' shown on 19th century map to the north of Roborough Plantation.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Camp' shown on early 20th century map.

Ordnance Survey, 1905, 9SE (Cartographic). SDV335634.

Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 608 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

Brief description given.

Royal Air Force, 1946, CPE/UK 1655, F120:11540 (Aerial Photograph). SDV345142.

Other details: DCC 7/67.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953 - 1978, SS53NE1 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV345140.

Other details: Plan, Section and Photograph.

Ministry of Works, 1958, Burridge Hill Fort (Schedule Document). SDV345058.

Burridge Hill Fort also known as Burridge Camp or Roborough Castle. A univallate hillfort, sub-rectangular in outline on the crest of a ridge. Well defined with banks 8-15 feet in height (2.44-4.57 metres) (original scale preserved in two patches of woodland). South side has eroded banks but on the other three sides rampart serves as the field boundary. Entrance in centre of east side. Shirwell portion - interior ploughed. West pilton portion - pasture. Cross ridge dyke, about 400 yards (366 metres) to the east, appears to be an outwork of the fort. Bank at least 6 feet (1.83 metres) high and ditch 3 feet (0.91 metres) deep. Grass and scrub.

Whybrow, C., 1967, Some Multivallate Hill Forts on Exmoor and in North Devon (Article in Serial). SDV93362.

Hill, D., 1969, The Burghal Hidage, 90-1 (Article in Serial). SDV339210.

According to Hill, the circuit is 1520 feet, compared with the calculation of the burghal hidage reference to 400 hides, of 1485 feet.

Grinsell, L. V., 1970, Discovering Regional Archaeology: South Western England, 31 (Monograph). SDV304192.

Burridge Camp, Iron Age or Saxon. The special interest of this hillfort is that its circumference of about 1230 feet (375 metres) is identical with that of the Saxon burgh of Pilton with Barnstaple,circa AD900. As there is an outwork to the east, this site may be an Iron Age hillfort adapted to the use of a burh.

Grinsell, L. V., 1970, The Archaeology of Exmoor, 78,83,115,117,201-2 (Monograph). SDV1641.

A burh was established here by Alfred.

Biddle, M. + Hill, D., 1971, Late Saxon Planned Towns, 84 (Article in Serial). SDV342518.

Miles, H. + Miles, T., 1975, Pilton, North Devon: Excavation within a Medieval Village, 267-95 (Article in Serial). SDV342517.

National Monuments Record, 1979, SS5735:SF 1507, 389 (Aerial Photograph). SDV345143.

Shows south side to be much reduced by ploughing.

Weston, S., 1983, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983 (Un-published). SDV343247.

Site visited on 14th January 1983.

Griffith, F. M., 1987, DAP/HY, 3-6 (Aerial Photograph). SDV341600.

Griffith, F. M., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 71 (Monograph). SDV64198.

Hilltop is site of an earthwork known as Burridge Camp or Roborough Castle. A rectangular defended enclosure which could be called a hillfort. About 350 metres to the east there is an outer defence in the form of a cross-ridge earthwork bank. The site has not been excavated and no definite date for it is known. Possible site of Saxon burgh of Pilton.

Griffiths, M., 1993, Untitled Source (Worksheet). SDV345144.

Fox, A., 1996, Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon, 48-9 (Monograph). SDV7958.

Walls, T., 1999 - 2000, Earthwork Enclosures in North-East Devon and Their Late Prehistoric Landscape (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV341596.

Site visited on 16th February 2000. North and south banks survive as massive ploughed down scarps (2.6 metres maximum), east and west banks converted to field boundaries. Ditches silted or filled except for south-west corner and south-east side. Outwork bank to east, 2 metres high with entrance probably where modern road is, does not survive in the field to the south of the road.

National Monuments Record, 2010, 33788 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV345141.

Roborough Castle. A large multivallate fort taken with its outwork about 400 feet each way inside the ramparts with a considerable salient at the south-east corner. The single entrance, much damaged but apparently of the overlapping type, is a few feet south of the middle of the eastern side. The ramparts have been reduced to scarps by erosion except where preserved by hedges and the ditch is only evident near the south east corner.
The outlying earthwork to the east now extends for 470 feet (143.26), terminating at a lane. It may have continued for a further 200 feet (61 metres)on the line of the hedge beyond the lane which would here occupy an overlapping bank entrance. Lady Fox believed that scarping north of the lane might indicate such an entrance.
A probable Iron Age hill fort situated on the approximate extremity of an east-west ridge with the land falling gently to the west and fairly steeply to the north and south. A poor natural defensive position. The earthwork consists of a glacis type bank to the north and south and raised banks which have been mutilated to form field boundaries, to the east and west. The mutilated entrance was probably in the south-east where the only fragment of an outer ditch is found. The interior is partly under grass and partly crops. No trace of hut sites was found.
A probable cross-ridge outer defence 400 metres to the east (extending from SS 57423526 to SS 57443512) terminates 80 metres short of its logical conclusion in the south. It consists of a raised and mutilated bank with an outer ditch which teminates in the south with a glacis type bank extending to the east. This latter portion of bank may have been mutilated by road making or it may be a natural feature.
"Pilton that is Barnstaple" is assessed for "400 hides, less 40 hides" in the Burghal Hidage, dateable to shortly before 925AD.
The measured perimeters of Pilton Camp, SS 569 353, agrees well with the circumference that can be calculated from the number of hides.
This ploughed down univallate Iron Age hillfort and its crossridge dyke (420 metres to the east) occupy a commanding position at the end of a linear ridge.
The hillfort rampart on the north and south sides survives as a smoothed outer scarp 1.5 metres to 2.6 metres high with faint traces of an inner scarp and, on the downhill side, a berm up to 6 metres wide. The ramparts on the east and west sides, both converted into field hedges, are a maximum 2.7 metres high externally and 1.2 metres high internally: both faces are revetted in places and part of the inner face of the eastern rampart is visible as a ploughed down linear bank a maximum 0.6 metres high. Two short lengths of ditch now
1 metre deep survive, one in the south-west corner and a second on the south-east side. The interior is regularly cultivated.

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

'Fort Burridge' shown on modern mapping.

Wessex Archaeology, 2011, Land to the West of Tews Lane, Bickington, Barnstaple, Devon: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment, 5 (Report - Assessment). SDV352137.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV16214Un-published: Woollcombe, H.. 1839-1850. Woollcombe Manuscript. Manuscript.
SDV1641Monograph: Grinsell, L. V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. A5 Hardback. 78,83,115,117,201-2.
SDV304192Monograph: Grinsell, L. V.. 1970. Discovering Regional Archaeology: South Western England. Discovering Regional Archaeology: South Western England. Unknown. 31.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV335634Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1905. 9SE. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 6 inch Map. Map (Paper).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV339210Article in Serial: Hill, D.. 1969. The Burghal Hidage. Medieval Archaeology. 13. Unknown. 90-1.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 608.
SDV341596Post-Graduate Thesis: Walls, T.. 1999 - 2000. Earthwork Enclosures in North-East Devon and Their Late Prehistoric Landscape. University of Bristol Thesis. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV341600Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1987. DAP/HY. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3-6.
SDV342517Article in Serial: Miles, H. + Miles, T.. 1975. Pilton, North Devon: Excavation within a Medieval Village. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 33. Paperback Volume. 267-95.
SDV342518Article in Serial: Biddle, M. + Hill, D.. 1971. Late Saxon Planned Towns. Antiquaries Journal. 51. Unknown. 84.
SDV343247Un-published: Weston, S.. 1983. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Unknown.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV345058Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1958. Burridge Hill Fort. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV345140Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953 - 1978. SS53NE1. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV345141National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 33788. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV345142Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. CPE/UK 1655. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). F120:11540.
SDV345143Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1979. SS5735:SF 1507. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 389.
SDV345144Worksheet: Griffiths, M.. 1993. Worksheet.
SDV352137Report - Assessment: Wessex Archaeology. 2011. Land to the West of Tews Lane, Bickington, Barnstaple, Devon: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment. Wessex Archaeology Report. 76470.01. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5.
SDV64198Monograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 71.
SDV7958Monograph: Fox, A.. 1996. Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon. Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon. Paperback Volume. 48-9.
SDV93362Article in Serial: Whybrow, C.. 1967. Some Multivallate Hill Forts on Exmoor and in North Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 25. A5 Paperback.

Associated Monuments

MDV14994Related to: Anglo-Saxon Burh at Pilton, Barnstaple (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 10 2014 12:00PM