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Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: Cadbury Castle, South Cadbury
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Large multivallate hillfort and associated earthworks at South Cadbury [No:22904]
Civil Parish: South Cadbury
PRN 16342Cadbury Castle - Bronze Age settlement, South Cadbury
PRN 22948Excavations (1966-70), South Cadbury Castle
PRN 54547King Arthur's well, E side of Cadbury Castle, South Cadbury
PRN 54548Queen Anne's wishing well, NW corner of Cadbury Castle, South Cadbury
PRN 54551Cadbury Castle - Neolithic settlement, South Cadbury
PRN 54552Iron Age Hillfort, South Cadbury Castle
PRN 54553Cadbury Castle - Roman activity and Temple, South Cadbury
PRN 54554Cadbury Castle - Post Roman settlement, South Cadbury
PRN 54555Cadbury Castle - Saxon burh, South Cadbury
PRN 54556Lynchets, N side of Cadbury Castle, South Cadbury
PRN 54557Lynchets, E side of Cadbury Castle, South Cadbury
PRN 54558Lynchets, S side of Cadbury Camp, South Cadbury
PRN 54807Cadbury Castle, Castle and later acitivity, South Cadbury
PRN 54808Cadbury Castle - Mesolithic flint finds, South Cadbury
Grid Ref: ST 628 252 (ST 62 NW) ST 628 249 (ST 62 SW)
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Image: Image of HER 55105 - Photo by Somerset County Council
  HER 55105 - Photo by Somerset County Council

Public access:

As far as we are aware all or part of this site lies on land that is open to the public under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 [Information last updated on 14 May 2003]


Cadbury Castle occupies the whole of the top of a steep hill standing a little detached of the range of hills that runs from Yeovil to South Cadbury. The geology is inferior oolite. The hill commands the basin of the river Yeo and the irregular triangular summit is surrounded by four lines of ramparts. The main entrance was probably that at the NE corner with another, probably ancient, at the SW. No sign can be seen of Stukeley's "work ditched round and called King Arthur's Palace, and which might have been the praetorium". {1}

Large quantities of material were collected from the hilltop during the 1950s. As well as artefacts it was noticed that there was much blue lias stone lying around as noticed by Leland who said it was being removed by the local inhabitants. Many neolithic flints were recovered with two concentrations on the north facing slope, one just below the summit, the other further east. Pottery has also been recovered. There is little material from the Bronze Age: a spear point, a scabbard boss and a blue glass bead. In contrast there is much Iron Age pottery, dating throughout the period, and slingshots - both stone and baked clay. There is Roman material from South Cadbury and imported Mediterranean sherds have been found on the hilltop. On the S face of the earthwork are rubbish dumps of all periods. Cropmarks showed clearly in 1955 and were photographed. These show numerous storage pits and the line of an ealier, smaller enclosure. {3}

The hillfort interior is under permanent grass with no evidence of poaching. There is a concentration of rabbit diggings at the western end and visitor and vehicle erosion at the eastern entrance. The rampart crest is subject to visitor erosion but this is not severe except by the eastern entrance. The lower ramparts are becoming covered in scrub which is increasing . {12}

Scheduling revised with new national number, formerly Somerset 8, on 26 July 1995. {15}


1 Description - Dymond, CW. Dolebury and Cadbury camps. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  29 (1883), 104-116
2 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 62 NW 1 (1979) Location: HER files.
3 Description - Harfield, M. Cadbury Castle. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  106 (1961-62), 62-5 and plates. Copy available in Local Studies collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
4 Description - Alcock, L. By South Cadbury is that Camelot ....  (1972)
5 Excavation report - Alcock, L. Cadbury Castle, Somerset: The early medieval archaeology.  (1995)
6 Aerial photographs - DAP TI 14, 15. (20/7/1990) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
7 Aerial photographs - DAP XG11-13. (1994) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
8 Survey report - Riley, H and Dunn, CJ. South Cadbury Castle, Somerset: A New Earthwork Survey.  Unpublished Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England report (1993) Location: HER files.
9 Survey report - Johnson, PG. Cadbury Castle, Somerset: Geophysical Surveys 1992-1993.  Unpublished University of Glasgow report (not dated) Location: HER files.
10 Aerial photographs - CUCAP CE 86. (16/6/1949) Location: HER files.
11 Aerial photographs - CUCAP FC 45. (11/6/1950) Location: HER files.
12 Site visit report - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden (9/3/2000) Location: HER files.
13 Detailed records - McGarvie, M. The Antiquities of Mells, Elm and Buckland in 1730. Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society  27 (1983), 89-91 (page 85-7)
14 Aerial photographs - DAP NG01-05, 14-15. (1989) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
15 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council Historic Environment Record. (21/9/1995) Location: HER files.
16 Description - Riley, H. Archaeological Management Plan: Cadbury Castle, South Cadbury, Somerset.  Unpublished Hazel Riley report (2012) Four parts (Gazetteer and condition survey, woodland survey, animal activiy survey, management plan). Location: HER file.

Record created in June 1992

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