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HER Number:MDV9425
Name:Posbury Camp


An Iron Age multivallate hillfort with three prominent ramparts and intermediate ditches to the south. Elsewhere most of the defences have been destroyed or greatly reduced by ploughing.


Grid Reference:SX 808 971
Map Sheet:SX89NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishCrediton Hamlets
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCREDITON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 447429
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX89NW/2
  • Old SAM County Ref: 278
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX89NW 1

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 88-059.63,64 (Aerial Photograph). SDV338959.

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

Triple ditch and banks. Inner bank 334 yards long, approximately 13 yards high at most. Second bank 26 yards from crest of inner rampart. Third bank 20 yards from foot of second. Both 2 and 3 extend circa 228 yards east to west. Other details: Plan.

Shortt, W. T. P., 1841, Collectanea Curiosa Antiqua Dumnonia, Exeter, 23 (Monograph). SDV310391.

Ordnance Survey, 1906, 67SW (Cartographic). SDV335879.

Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 582 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

Ministry of Works, 1949, Posbury Camp, Castle Down (Schedule Document). SDV343237.

The surviving third of the defences of a fine triple rampart hill fort, of early Iron Age B type. As shown on 6 inch map, these are preserved in a copse and are perfect, and well worth scheduling. Rampart + 15 above ditch. The east end of the centre bank has recently (1949) been levelled. The course of the inner bank to east and west is shown by hedges; the two outer banks are just visible in a ploughed field on the west, but no trace on the east. The northern limit of the enclosure is probably on the edge of Blackdown Wood, or a line of the road from Posbury. Other details: Map.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950 - 1969, SX89NW 1 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV338955.

1. Visited on 5th September 1950. The portions of the triple-rampart structure not destroyed are accurately shown. The bank at 'A' (plan) has recently been ploughed out. There are traces of banks 'B', or ditches in the open fields which should be accurately recorded. No proper survey of the defensive lines in Blackdown Plantation are possible at present.
2. Site visit 18th September 1969. Survey revised. Portions marked 'B' on plan are exceedingly spread and barely discernible in long grass. Other details: Plan & Section.

Illegible, 1984, Posbury Camp (Worksheet). SDV359079.

Sainsbury, I. S., 1990, Posbury Camp (Un-published). SDV343235.

The remains of this Iron Age hillfort are situated at about 170 metres OD on the prominent hill of Castle Down. It has extensive views, particularly to the north over the valley of the River Yeo. The pear-shaped fort has an interval area of 2 hectares (5 acres) with 3 prominent ramparts and intermediate ditches which run for some 160 metres through deciduous woodland and curve around the south of the hill. Elsewhere, apart from the steep tree-covered outer scarp of the inner rampart projecting to the northwest, the defences have been destroyed or greatly reduced by ploughing and now lie in arable fields. A modern hedgebank surmounts the top of the inner rampart. Faint remains of an internal counterscarp or quarry ditch to this rampart are visible as a slight outer facing scarp, no more than 2 metres wide and 0.4 metres high at best, running about 5 metres parallel to the hedgebank. This counterscarp though barely discernible is evident around most of the interior of the fort. It is reminiscent of the scoops at Hembury Castle Hillfort. The position of the entrance is not clear. The outer rampart is about 200 metres long. The outer scarp has been emphasised by ploughing of the arable field to the south. At its west end a farm track has eroded part of the outer scarp which terminates here on a field bank. To the north-west all traces have disappeared apart from a barely discernible scarp of the ploughed down outer scarp about 90 metres long, 10 metres wide and circa 1 metre high. Two slightly curving dark parallel bands visible on aerial photographs are probably cropmarks of the ploughed out central and outer banks and ditches. Along the north side of the fort the road bends, suggesting it may have taken advantage of, and now occupies the line of, the ditch, obscuring any traces.

Gregory, M., 1993, Posbury Camp (Worksheet). SDV338957.

Inner rampart still in existence to east, outer 2 only remain on extremes of site. No northern defences visible. Area to south of site under cultivation but ramparts and ditches in existence do not appear to be being encroached upon any further. Enclosure area under pasture.

Grant, N., 1995, The Occupation of Hillforts in Devon during the Late Roman and Post Roman Periods, 106 (Article in Serial). SDV7954.

Posbury Castle in Crediton is a multivallate hillfort on a hill top enclosing 2.2 hectares. Suggested as the site of battle of Posentesburh in AD661 which was fought between Saxons advancing into Dumnonia and the resident Britons.

Fox, A., 1996, Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon, 46-7 (Monograph). SDV7958.

WSP Environmental Ltd, 2005, Mill Street, Crediton: Archaeological Assessment, 3 (Report - Assessment). SDV338960.

Early Iron Age triple rampart hillfort with plough damage to some of the outer earthworks. Other details: Appendix 1.

National Monuments Record, 2009, 447429 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV343236.

Cropmarks of an Iron Age multivallate hillfort. Other details: SX89NW 1.

English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South West, 102 (Report - non-specific). SDV342694.

Condition generally satisfactory but with significant localised problems. Principal vulnerability plant growth.

Ordnance Survey, 2009, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV341569.

English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010: South West, 94 (Report - non-specific). SDV344777.

English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011: South West, 90 (Report - non-specific). SDV355280.

Condition generally satisfactory but with significant localised problems. Declining. Principal vulnerability plant growth.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV16214Un-published: Woollcombe, H.. 1839-1850. Woollcombe Manuscript. Manuscript.
SDV310391Monograph: Shortt, W. T. P.. 1841. Collectanea Curiosa Antiqua Dumnonia, Exeter. Collectanea Curiosa Antiqua Dumnonia, Exeter. Unknown. 23.
SDV335879Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1906. 67SW. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 6 inch Map. Map (Paper).
SDV338955Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950 - 1969. SX89NW 1. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV338957Worksheet: Gregory, M.. 1993. Posbury Camp. Devon County Sites and Monuments Register. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV338959Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 88-059.63,64. Ordnance Survey Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper).
SDV338960Report - Assessment: WSP Environmental Ltd. 2005. Mill Street, Crediton: Archaeological Assessment. WSP Report. 12262065. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 582.
SDV341569Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2009. MasterMap. MasterMap. Digital.
SDV342694Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2009. Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South West. English Heritage Report. A4 Bound +Digital. 102.
SDV343235Un-published: Sainsbury, I. S.. 1990. Posbury Camp. RCHME Field Investigation. Unknown.
SDV343236National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2009. 447429. National Monuments Record Index. Website.
SDV343237Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1949. Posbury Camp, Castle Down. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV344777Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2010. Heritage at Risk Register 2010: South West. English Heritage Report. Digital. 94.
SDV355280Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2011. Heritage at Risk Register 2011: South West. english Heritage. Digital. 90.
SDV359079Worksheet: Illegible. 1984. Posbury Camp. Worksheet + Digital.
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. 106.
SDV7958Monograph: Fox, A.. 1996. Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon. Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon. Paperback Volume. 46-7.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4270 - Mill Street, Crediton

Date Last Edited:Aug 28 2015 10:50AM