Please Wait - Compiling Details.

<< Back to Query / Map page


Somerset Historic Environment Record

11113

Site Name: Brent Knoll hillfort, Brent Knoll
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Brent Knoll hillfort and associated field system [No:24001]
Civil Parish: East Brent
Comprises:
PRN 10082Strip lynchets and field system, Brent Knoll
PRN 11941Hollow way, Brent Knoll
PRN 14082Geophysical survey (2006), Brent Knoll hillfort
PRN 15995Second World War slit trenches, Brent Knoll
PRN 17268Excavation (2004), Brent Knoll Hillfort
Grid Ref: ST 341 509 (ST 35 SW)
  Show site on map (Requires Flash)
   
Image: Image of HER 11113 - East Brent. Photo by Somerset County Council (29 June 1989)
  HER 11113 - East Brent. Photo by Somerset County Council (29 June 1989)

Public access:

As far as we are aware all or part of this site is on National Trust land open to the public. (Open Access). [Information last updated on 19 December 2002]

Details:

A simple iron age hillfort defended by a bank and outer ditch with counterscarp bank, and a second bank on the north-east. {1}

The defences consist of a bank, strengthened by scarping, a berm and a second scarp. There is an entrance on the east side. {2}

The interior of the fort has been extensively quarried for lias limestone but considerable areas, especially in the N and SW are still intact. The whole site is under pasture, suffering damage from cattle in places. The outer defences on the N have been used as military trenches. The main enclosure is defined by an inner bank, discontinuous on the W where it has been quarried away, and with an entrance on the E side with some unusual features. About 5m below the inner bank is a flat terrace about 3m wide from the ground which falls to a second major bank which surrounds the hilltop, except on the E where a modern trackway may reflect the original access route. There are several scarps across the spine of the hill to the N but some of these may be medieval strip lynchets which are also present on the S slopes of the hill (see PRN 10082). The track enters the hillfort in a slight hollow way, on each side of which is an irregular D-shaped platform on the outer face of the bank. These have been compared to Dark Age features at Cadbury Congresbury, Avon. There are traditional associations with King Arthur, and the estate within which the Hillfort lies was granted to Glastonbury Abbey in C7. The name has a Celtic root meaning "high place". {3}

On at least two occasions, Skinner undertook excavations apparently on the NW side behind the inner rampart. He located pennant sandstone roof tiles, "foundation stones" and painted wall plaster. Coins were also found but not recorded. {4}

Skinner's notes are reproduced in Burrow. The finds are all indicative of a substantial building. A temple is more likely than a villa. {7}

Other finds include an urn containing coins of Trajan and Severus, found before 1790. {8}

These or other finds are also referred to by Collinson. {9}

A total of 580 sherds are in Taunton and Woodspring museums. Most appears to be of C3- C4 date, mostly grey and black wares. {10}

Burrow notes the tradition of a castle on the Knoll. {17}

The enclosure award of 1801 shows a castellated tower. {18}

RB pottery was found within the area of the hillfort at ST342510. {19}

A large univallate hillfort. Rampart c.1m high, with internal quarry ditches, encloses the 1.6ha flat top of the hill. 2m below externally is a berm, then a further drop of 2-5m to a wide outer terrace which may have been a ditch and counterscarp. The outer terrace is absent on the NE, suggesting it was perhaps unfinished. Eroded patches of the ramparts show a rough stone facing and in one place a line of cut stones. Entrance on E where a hollow way, reused as later quarry track, runs between slightly inturned ramparts. The ramparts drop to form external D-shaped flanking platforms. A comparable feature is present on the lower terrace, perhaps representing a later extension of the gateway. The present track into the fort appears to overlay an earlier hollow way just outside the entrance, and this earlier feature, which runs in a straight line down from the fort, may be the original approach road. On the N tip of the fort the berm drops to form a small platform, and the lower terrace protrudes to form two bastions. A large lynchet immediately below is possibly an additional rampart. These features may have guarded the N approach to the fort, and a narrow inturned gap in the rampart behind may have provided an entrance. A 35m stretch of the rampart on the W is levelled. Limestone quarrying, probably medieval, has affected much of the interior, and seems to have spread radially from the E entrance. Banks and mounds present may have been formed or simply heightened by quarry spoil. Lynchets to the N of the fort appear to be part of a medieval strip field system which can be seen around the entire hill. No ground evidence can be seen to substantiate the presence of a medieval castle - if one existed it may have been quarried away. {20}

The fort has been claimed as the site of Mons Badonicus. {21}

An Iron Age pottery fragment was found in an erosion scar on the S of the fort in the external face of the rampart. {24}

Scheduled area revised with new national number on 3 June 1994 to include area of field system to the N (PRN 10082). {27}

See PRN 15995 for Second World War trenches. {30}

The monument is in generally good condition under permanent pasture with only a few areas where erosion will need to be monitored. Some scrub clearance would be beneficial. {31}

Excavation of three post-holes by the National Trust (PRN 17268) showed the top 0.5m of the eastern rampart to be composed of dark clay loam with small amounts of stone. Abraded Roman sherds were incorporated in the material suggesting that this may represent a post-Roman raising of the rampart. {33}

Romano-British pottery from this site is at the Blake Museum, Bridgwater. {34}

References:

1 Description - Page, W. Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 2 (1911), 483.
2 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 35 SW 1 (1974) Location: HER files
3 Description - Burrow, I. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD.  (1981), 360-363. British Archaeological Reports 91.
4 Historical reference - Skinner, J [Rev John] Journals and Diaries.  (1788-1832) Available at British Library Reference: 33646 [folio 10]
5 Historical reference - Skinner, J [Rev John] Journals and Diaries.  (1788-1832) Available at British Library Reference: 33719
6 Historical reference - Skinner, J [Rev John] Journals and Diaries.  (1788-1832) Available at British Library Reference: 33726
7 Mention - Burrow, I. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD.  (1981), 441-443. British Archaeological Reports 91.
8 Mention - Barrett, W. History of Bristol.  (1789), 10.
9 Mention - Collinson, J. The History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 1 (1791), 196.
10 Museum accession number - TTNCM A.3033 in Somerset County Museum.
11 Museum accession number - TTNCM A.3344 and A.3344/1 in Somerset County Museum.
12 Museum accession number - TTNCM 50.A.116-8 in Somerset County Museum.
13 Museum accession number - WESTM [number unknown] in Weston-super-Mare Museum.
14 Description - Thackray, D. Brent Knoll, Somerset.  (1980) leaflet. Location: Unknown or non-existant.
15 Aerial photographs - WAP E224.11.
16 Mention - Rutter, J. Delineations of the North Western Division of the County of Somerset, and of its Antediluvian Bone Caverns, with a Geological Sketch of the District.  (1829), 88.
17 Mention - Burrow, EJ. Ancient Earthworks and Camps of Somerset.  (1924), 66-7.
18 Historical reference - East Brent, Brent Knoll and Lympsham.  (1801) Somerset Record Office. Reference: Q/RDE/40.
19 Detailed records - Nash, S. Site No 311.  (1956 onwards) unpublished typescript. Location: Somerset County Museum and Somerset Archives (A/DMQ) collections at Somerset Heritage Centre.
20 Detailed records - Preece, A. Brent Knoll hillfort.  (1993) unpublished Monuments Protection Programme fieldwork report for English Heritage. Location: HER files
21 Mention - Dobson, D. Mount Badon again. Antiquity.  22 (1948), 43-5
22 Aerial photographs - HSL 71 216 Run 33E 1502. (10/11/1971) Location: Local Studies collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
23 Aerial photographs - HSL 71 216 Run 35E 1600. (10/11/1971) Location: Local Studies collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
24 Verbal communication - Preece, AE. Somerset County Council, Heritage Service (1994). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
25 Aerial photographs - DAP MZ4,5. (06/1989) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
26 Aerial photographs - DAP WB21-4. (Feb 1994) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
27 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council. (13/7/1994) Location: HER files.
28 Aerial photographs - CUCAP MD 58. (4/7/1953) Location: HER files.
29 Aerial photographs - DAP AAD01-02. (1996) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
30 Compiler comment - Webster, CJ [Chris]. Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record (27/02/2003). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
31 Site visit report - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden. (28/9/2000) Report location: HER files
32 Detailed records - Smisson, RPM. Brent Knoll and its Landscape: An Archaeological and Historical Overview.  (2003) Certificate in Archaeology dissertation, University of Bristol. Location: HER files
33 Verbal communication - Webster, CJ [Chris]. Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record (10/12/2004). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
34 Museum accession number - BRWAB 86/200 and 87/111. Stored at Blake Museum, Bridgwater (box 214).

Record created in June 1983

© Copyright Somerset County Council 2014