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Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: Hillfort, King's Castle, Wiveliscombe
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Hillfort on Castle Hill 650m south east of Ford House [No:32170]
Civil Parish: Wiveliscombe
PRN 31685Late Roman coin hoard find, King's Castle, Wiveliscombe
Grid Ref: ST 096 282 (ST 02 NE)
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Image: Image of HER 43792 - DAP RM08 (jpeg version). Photo by Devon County Council (Frances Griffith) (07 June 1990)
  HER 43792 - DAP RM08 (jpeg version). Photo by Devon County Council (Frances Griffith) (07 June 1990)

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]


The HER is currently being transferred to a new system. Please ask about this changed entry. {0}

Hillfort set on isolated steep-sided and roughly flat-topped hill, much mutilated and defaced by quarrying on a large scale. {1}

The defences consist of inner bank, with a scarp, ditch, second bank and scarp. The finds from the site are: Neolithic flints including arrowheads, borers, scrapers, cores, blades and a knife found in 1950 and 1952. Human bones and a spindle whorl found in 1914. {2}

The interior ramparts survive up to 2.5m in places, 6m high externally and 14m wide. The external rampart on the SE, S and SW sides is 9m wide, 1.5m high internally and 7.5m externally with a small ditch along the perimeter. The ramparts are rather damaged on the SW by soil removal. A cowshed in this area is excluded from the scheduled area. There was no change in 1983. {3}

The interior is arable-cultivated pasture, shown as coniferous woodland on 1920s OS 25" map. The defences are heavily quarried and wooded and are totally destroyed at the N end, where an unknown portion of the site has been quarried away. They are barely detectable on the E side. A substantial bank survives on W side, surmounted by a later hedge bank. Best preserved at S end, where a staggered entrance between the two lines of ramparts, their E terminals slightly inturned, survive. The outer bank on the W bifurcates 20m W of entrance. {4}

Collinson report that Roman coins of the late C2 were found near the centre of the site in 1711. {5}

Three human femur heads were found lying on the surface of the rampart slopes and ditch in 1914. They were very weathered. {9}

The surviving areas of the rampart are under stable woodland, the interior is used for pasture and is not suffering any erosion. {12}

Scheduling revised with new national number (was Somerset 441) on 7 July 1999. {13}

Before the interior was ploughed after the First World War it was reported that 'foundations' of buildings could be seen in the interior. {14}


0 Compiler comment - Webster, CJ (Chris). Somerset Historic Environment Record (12/02/2016). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained.
1 Mention - Page, W. Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 2 (1911), 505.
2 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 02 NE 4 (1966) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 2337.
3 Site visit report - Rees, SE [Sian]. Department of the Environment (14/5/1975) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 22768.
4 Description - Burrow, I. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD.  (1981), 215 and 281. British Archaeological Reports 91.
5 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 02 NE 6 (1963) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 989.
6 Mention - Collinson, J. The History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 2 (1791), 488.
7 Mention - Phelps, W. History of Somersetshire.  (1839), 115.
8 Mention - Grinsell, LV. The Archaeology of Exmoor.  (1970), 93.
9 Description - Gray, H St G and Mattingly, H. A hoard of Late Roman coins found on Castle Hill, Wiveliscombe, 1946. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  92 (1946), 65-75 (page 67)
10 Museum accession number - TTNCM A704-6. Stored at Museum collection at Somerset Heritage Centre. (Human bones).
11 Aerial photographs - DAP RM7,8. (1990) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
12 Detailed records - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden (20/4/1998) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 22770.
13 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council. (17/8/1999) Location: HER files.
14 Detailed records - Hancock, F. Wifela's Combe.  (1911)

Record created in July 1984

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