Summary of Monument
Slight univallate hillfort with later motte called Bury Castle.
Reasons for Designation
Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low, in neighbouring Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. They are important for understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities. Motte castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain by the Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the motte, surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. In a majority of examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey, adjoined the motte. Motte castles and motte-and-bailey castles acted as garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte castles generally occupied strategic positions dominating their immediate locality and, as a result, are the most visually impressive monuments of the early post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape. Over 600 motte castles and motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. Some 100-150 examples do not have baileys and are classified as motte castles. As one of a restricted range of recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important for the study of Norman Britain and the development of the feudal system. Although many were occupied for only a short period of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle. The slight univallate hillfort with later motte called Bury Castle is a good example of adaptive re-use of a strategically significant and well placed site. It survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its origin, construction, probable adaptive re-use, strategic and territorial significance, social organisation, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 August 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument includes a slight univallate hillfort which was apparently re-used and modified by the addition of a motte and is situated on the summit of a steep sided ridge above the confluence of the Rivers Exe and Haddeo. The slight univallate hillfort survives as an oval enclosure defined by a rampart bank and a partially buried outer ditch with counterscarp banks to the north and south. The hillfort appears to have been modified and re-used during the medieval period with the additional construction of a small ditched circular motte of up to 5m high at the south end. It has also been interpreted alternatively as a motte and bailey castle in its own right without prehistoric origins.
PastScape Monument No:-36540
National Grid Reference: SS 93841 26966