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HHER Number:122
Type of record:Monument


Substantial bank and ditch, probably a late Iron Age linear dyke which was later called 'Calies Castle'

Grid Reference:TL 422 214
Map Sheet:TL42SW
Parish:Little Hadham, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Monument Types

  • EARTHWORK (Late Iron Age - 100 BC to 49 AD)
  • HILLFORT? (Late Iron Age - 100 BC to 49 AD)

Associated Events

  • Fieldwalking at Wickham Spring, 2009

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthworks of uncertain date, possibly medieval Castle, Caley Wood, Little Hadham
  • Area of Archaeological Significance 92
  • Sensitivity Map: site of castle and earthworks, caley wood, enlarge

Full description

There are extensive earthworks in the N half of Caley Wood. Most of this is the result of gravel quarrying, but a large bank with slight outer ditch at the SE limit of the earthworks is probably of some antiquity <1>. Its date is uncertain; finds of Roman pottery reputedly from the ditch [1391] and the form of the earthwork suggest an Iron Age date, but this is also likely to be the site of 'Calies Castle' mentioned in Chancery proceedings of 1575 <2>. The site is known as 'Castle Field' in a plan of 1767 <3>. See [797] for the documentary evidence.
Close inspection in 2009 confirmed a likely late Iron Age date <4>. There is no indication that the site was re-used in the medieval period, despite the finding of the handle of a Herts Grey Ware jug nearby. It also bears more resemblance to a linear dyke, dominating the approach to Wickham Spring from the south-east, than to a hillfort enclosure. In addition, defence could not be its primary function, as its position at the top of a scarp slope leaves the easier approach from the rear undefended.

Mike Daniels (HCC), site report, 21.2.90 (Unpublished document). SHT7000.

Morris Gazetteer (Unpublished document). SHT7108.

<1> Cave-Penny, Helena (HCC) site report, 9.1.86 (Unpublished document). SHT4214.

<2> Renn, Derek, 1971, Medieval castles in Hertfordshire, - p16 (Bibliographic reference). SHT9405.

<3> Willock, D, 1767, A Plan of West-Field Farm, in the Parishes of Little & Much Hadham, in the County of Hertford, belonging to Mr John Crawley (Cartographic material). SHT8905.

<4> Landon, M R J, 2010, Bromley Hall and Caley Wood fieldwork 2009, RNO 2430 p24-5, 26-8 (Report). SHT5898.

Sources and further reading

---Unpublished document: Mike Daniels (HCC), site report. 21.2.90.
---Unpublished document: Morris Gazetteer.
<1>Unpublished document: Cave-Penny, Helena (HCC) site report. 9.1.86.
<2>Bibliographic reference: Renn, Derek. 1971. Medieval castles in Hertfordshire. - p16.
<3>Cartographic material: Willock, D. 1767. A Plan of West-Field Farm, in the Parishes of Little & Much Hadham, in the County of Hertford, belonging to Mr John Crawley.
<4>Report: Landon, M R J. 2010. Bromley Hall and Caley Wood fieldwork 2009. fieldwalking. RNO 2430 p24-5, 26-8.