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Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: Dundon hillfort, Compton Dundon
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Compton Dundon hillfort with Dundon Beacon, east of Dundon [No:22076]
Civil Parish: Compton Dundon
PRN 28557Watching brief (1997), water pipe trench, Dundon Hillfort, Compton Dundon
PRN 53759Dundon Beacon, Dundon Hill, Compton Dundon
Grid Ref: ST 485 322 (ST 43 SE)
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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]


Univallate hillfort. On the north-west the bank has disappeared and there is only a scarp. Entrance was in the middle of the east side but has been much altered and destroyed by quarrying. {1}

Several flint flakes, a core and scrapers, also a few pieces of bronze age pottery were found by Arthur Bulleid on the surface within the camp in 1916. {4}

The interior rises gently towards the south. Defences consist of a slight bank running along the edge of the plateau with a pronounced terrace about 6m down the slope, perhaps a silted up ditch with counterscarp. Entrance gaps are present in two places on the east side, the north one being altered by quarrying and probably not original. The approach on this side is very steep and it seems probable that the entrance was on the west side. {6}

Old quarry in south part opened briefly in 1970s to provide building stone. {7}

There are also miscellaneous earthworks at ST 4825 3230, 50m to the north-west, which may be outworks. {8}

A slight univallate hillfort occupying the top of a hill. Defences vary from a scarp to a 2m high bank with outer terrace, but on average consist of a bank 0.4 - 1.0m high, atop a scarp in places. Earthworks have been affected in places by C19 hedge banks and by quarrying. Entrance uncertain - probably on east but obscured by quarrying. Outer scarps in places mainly under dense vegetation and not reachable. The slightness of the earthworks suggest the possibility of a date earlier than the Iron Age. Dundon Beacon (PRN 53759) on the south-east corner of the fort is a mound atop the scarp, ditched through the rampart on its N suggesting it is of later date. It is possible that this is a Norman motte. The stretch of the hillfort immediately north of this is heightened to a 2m high bank apparently raised from a 6m wide terrace below, and this may represent a Norman reworking of defences with the intention of creating a motte and bailey castle. {10}

The rampart consists of a single earthwork bank, varying in height between 0.5 and 2.5m, forming an irregular enclosure. Below the rampart the hillside is very steep, forming a natural defence and there is no signe of a ditch. Neither of the two abreaches of the rampart are likely to have been the original entrance which presumeably lay on the eastern side and has been destroyed by quarrying. The quarries appear on the 1886 OS map as of similar extent as today. The last recorded use was in 1925. {11}

Scheduling revised with new national number (was Somerset 339) on 23 December 1996. {13}

In 1997 a watching brief (PRN 28557) was carried out for a water pipeline through the hillfort's rampart. This was at a point where it had been severely eroded on the north-west side by a track. The watching brief showed that the first defences consisted of a timber laced stone rampart that was subsequently burnt. A later phase of clay rampart overlaid this and there was a possble pre-rampart phase of worn cobbles. Small sherds of iron age pottery were recovered from the stone phase. The pipe trench was monitored where it might have cut an external ditch but nothing was seen next to the rampart. {14}

The S part has recently been cleared of coniferous trees and is beginning to regrow. It is intended to establish a calcareous grass cover grazed by sheep. A number of deciduous trees have been left but one has already blown over. To the N old grassland is being maintained with occasional trees. One has blown over revealing the rubble core of the rampart. {15}

Much as described in 1998. The ramparts remain stable under woodland and the interior is grazed by a small flock of sheep. Mowing of thistles and nettles contiues to improve the grassland. {16}


1 Description - Page, W. Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 2 (1911), 490-1.
2 Sketch plan - Page, W. Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 2 (1911), 491.
3 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 43 SE 15 (1967) Location: HER files
4 Mention - Gray, H St G. Additions to the museum. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  62 (1916), lx-lxxx (page lx) Copy available in SANHS library at Somerset Heritage Centre.
5 Museum accession number - Stored at Unknown or non-existent.
6 Description - Burrow, I. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD.  (1981), 214. British Archaeological Reports 91.
7 Mention - Burrow, EJ. Ancient Earthworks and Camps of Somerset.  (1924), 84.
8 Mention - McDonnell, RRJ [Richard]. Somerset County Council claylands aerial photo survey (1985) (ST4832). Location: verbal or direct entry to database, no other records.
9 Aerial photographs - HSL 71 220 Run 49E 1923. (12/11/1971) Location: Local Studies collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
10 Detailed records - Preece, A. Compton Dundon hillfort.  (12/7/1993) unpublished Monuments Protection Programme report for English Heritage. Location: HER files.
11 Survey report - Newman, P and Riley, H. Dundon Hill Camp, Somerset.  (1994) unpublished Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England typescript. Location: HER files
12 Measured plan - Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1:1000 earthwork plan. (1994) Drawing HBC 5/31/2. Location: HER collections
13 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council. (13/3/1997) Location: HER files.
14 Excavation report - Hollinrake, C and Hollinrake, N. An Archaeological Excavation of a Water Pipe Trench on Dundon Hillfort, Compton Dundon, ... Unpublished C and N Hollinrake report No: 100. (1997) Report location: HER files under PRN 28557.
15 Detailed records - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden. (14/7/1998) Report location: HER files
16 Site visit report - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden. (26/6/2000) Report location: HER files
17 Mention - Newman, P. Compton Dundon, Dundon Hill and Beacon. In Webster, CJ and Croft, RA. Somerset Archaeology 1994. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History138 (1994), 165-185 at 172

Record created in October 1984

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