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Somerset Historic Environment Record

10228

Site Name: Ruborough Camp, Broomfield
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Ruborough Camp large univallate hillfort [No:24005]
Civil Parish: Broomfield
Comprises:
PRN 17090Earthwork Survey (2003), Ruborough Camp, Broomfield
Grid Ref: ST 228 335 (ST 23 SW)
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Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]

Details:

Ruborough Camp (Rowberrow, Rowborough, Roborough) is a triangular-shaped promontory fort, comprising double bank with medial ditch. The entrance was apparently in the W where there is also an outlying bank and ditch. {1}

The site is unusual in having two lines of defences crossing the spur about 100m apart, the area between them, or perhaps the whole area of the fort, being known as "Money Field" in the late C19. The western rampart ends against the steep slope at its northern end and does not appear to be connected with the main enclosure along this side, although a slight scarp runs westward for a short distance from the north end of the inner ditch From the S end of the outer rampart however a slight bank with an interior quarry scoop runs eastwards along the top of the southern slope, surmounted for some distance by a hedge bank but continuing as the counterscarp along the S side of the inner enclosure. About 30m E of the S corner of the main enclosure this counterscarp has been cut through and lowered by a terraced track running up from the SW. The main entrance is at the E end where approach up the spine of the spur is easiest. The inner rampart is sharply inturned on the N side of the entrance passage, but apparently only thickened on the S, the termination of which is shown as a definite mound on the VCH plan of 1911. There is a second entrance in the middle of the western rampart which is a simple gap, and a possible one through the outer bank. The interior is roughly level on the ENE, but slopes up more steeply to the WSW No features are visible.

Name "Ruborough" comes from "Rugan beorh" or "Ruwan-beorge" meaning "Rough hill" {6}

Well preserved ramparts on the W. The defences are about 24m wide with 2.5m between the bottom of the ditch and the crest of the bank. A horse track passes through the entrance on the north east. The site is planted with fir and beech, there is intrusive hazel and an undergrowth of bracken and bramble. An old hazel coppice lies outside on the SE. {7}

Known as "The Moneyfield". Folklore legend of an iron castle full of gold and silver guarded by gnomes and sprites. Iron gateway can only be found by digging in silence at noon. {8}

Mention of a subterranean passage, now filled in, giving access to a spring. {10}

Scheduled area revised with new national number on 25 Feb 1994 (was Somerset 333). {14}

Large univallate hillfort on a triangular promontory, rectilinear with rounded corners. Main earthworks enclose 1.8ha, with a further 1.8ha defined on the uphill side by an outer line of defences. Around the main fort, rampart most massive across the ridge (3.4m high), absent along much of S side. Ditch 3.4m deep, with the steep slope on sides giving a drop of up to 6m from the fort Counterscarp c.1m high. Main inturned entrance on E is approached by a hollow way, perhaps original but recut for forestry. Second entrance through uphill rampart is a simple gap and causeway. There is a small stone shed in the ditch here and the rampart has been lowered. The outer area of the fort is defined most notably by a cross-ridge work, with incomplete rampart 3m high separated by a berm from an outer ditch. On the S this work is linked to the main fort by an extension of the counterscarp bank, with quarry ditch, and on the N a later hedge bank in an equivalent location may have reused a similar feature. A start seems to have been made on extending the ditch along these sides but continues no further than 15m This all suggests that the outer area is a later and unfinished addition Three causeways across the outer work, one with a gap in the rampart. These, plus the side banks here may be the result of later farm use. {16}

The Forestry commission intend to clear the ramparts of trees and then allow natural regeneration of the rest of the site with broadleaved trees. {17}

An earthwork survey undertaken by English Heritage in 2003 (PRN 17090) concluded that the camp is an exceptionally well preserved large triangular enclosure defined by massive earthworks. There is a linked outwork to the west. It is part of a significant group with Higher Castles (PRN 10229) and Rook's Castle (PRN 10241). {18}

References:

1 Mention - Gray, H St G. Ruborough Camp. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History.  49 (1903), 173-182
2 Mention - Page, W. Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 2 (1911), 483.
3 Sketch plan - Page, W. Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 2 (1911), 483.
4 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 23 SW 1 (1964) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 121.
5 Measured plan - Quinnell, NV. Sketch plan of Ruborough Camp 1:2500. (not dated) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 13797.
6 Mention - Burrow, I. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD.  (1981), 218-9. British Archaeological Reports 91.
7 Detailed records - Algar, D [David]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden (7/2/1984) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 13798.
8 Mention - Grinsell, LV. Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Britain.  (1976), 100.
9 Mention - J Brit Archaeol Ass Collins, J.W 1857 vol. 13, 294
10 Mention - Page, JLW. An Exploration of Exmoor.  (1890), 280-81.
11 Mention - Scarth, HM. Roman Somerset. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History.  24 (1878), 1-21 [page 1]
12 Mention - Burrow, EJ. Ancient Earthworks and Camps of Somerset.  (1924), 66-7.
13 Mention - Dobson, DP. The Archaeology of Somerset.  (1931), 204.
14 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council. (4/3/1994) Location: HER files
15 Aerial photographs - DAP QJ8,9. (1990) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
16 Detailed records - Preece, A. Ruborough camp large univallate hillfort.  (1993) unpublished Monuments Protection Programme fieldwork report for English Heritage.
17 Verbal communication - Grove, J [Jan]. Somerset County Council, Heritage Service (06/12/2000). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
18 Survey report - Riley, H. Ruborough Camp, Broomfield, Somerset. An Iron Age Hillfort and Outwork.  Unpublished English Heritage report No: AI/15/2004 (2004) Location: HER file 17090. HER digital source: 13801.

Record created in December 1982

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