Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

EN0155: Segsbury Camp  

(Letcombe Castle)

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HER:  Oxfordshire 7200 (MOX321)

NMR:  SU 38 SE 3 (229295)

SM:  1017717

NGR:  SU 3850 8448

X:  438500  Y:  184479  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

Overlooking the village of Letcombe Regis on the chalk escarpment with the Ridgeway nearby to the S, a roughly circular contour fort of c.10.7ha. Mentioned in Aubrey's Monumenta Britannica (1665-1693), on Roque's map of 1762. Univallate with ditch for the entire circuit, cut by road creating breaks through the rampart to N and S. Out-turned entrance to the E with hornwork, possible blocked entrance to the SW. Has been deeply ploughed in the interior, ramparts in good condition. Geophysics by English Heritage (Payne et. al. 2006), excavation in the interior, rampart and E entrance in 1996 and 1997 (Lock et. al. 2005). Evidence for pits, roundhouses, environmental, artefacts, dated to c.600 - 200 BC from stratified pottery. A study of the wider area suggests considerable pre- and post-hillfort activity (Levick 2015).

Status

Citizen Science:  ✓  Martin Stuart

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed:  Modern excavation

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed

Location

X:  -160974  Y:  6720568  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -1.446057  Latitude:  51.557837  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  England

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Oxfordshire

Historic County:   Berkshire

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Letcombe Regis

Condition

Extant:  
Cropmark:  
Likely Destroyed:  

Land Use

Single rampart and outer ditch survive for complete circuit, ditch filled in but still 5m to rampart top in places, counterscarp bank survives in places, best to NW. Interior has been ploughed. Some tree and scrub cover on ramparts and badger damage. SSSI.

Woodland:  
Commercial Forestry Plantation:  
Parkland:  
Pasture (Grazing):  
Arable:  
Scrub/Bracken:  
Bare Outcrop:  
Heather/Moorland:  
Heath:  
Built-up:  
Coastal Grassland:  
Other:  

Landscape

Hillfort Type

Fairly flat position on chalk downs, scarp to the N, the Ridgeway c.20m to the S.

Contour Fort:  
Partial Contour Fort:  
Promontory Fort:  
Hillslope Fort:  
Level Terrain Fort:  
Marsh Fort:  
Multiple Enclosure Fort:  

Topographic Position

Hilltop:  
Coastal Promontory:  
Inland Promontory:  
Valley Bottom:  
Knoll/Hillock/Outcrop:  
Ridge:  
Cliff/Plateau-edge/Scarp:  
Hillslope:  
Lowland:  
Spur:  

Dominant Topographic Feature:  On chalk scarp overlooking the Vale of the White Horse

Aspect

North:  
Northeast:  
East:  
Southeast:  
South:  
Southwest:  
West:  
Northwest:  
Level:  

Elevation

Altitude:  212.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

Excavation suggests 600BC - 200BC.

Reliability:  A - High

Pre 1200BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
800BC - 400BC:  
400BC - AD50:  
AD50 - AD400:  
AD400 - AD 800:  
Post AD800:  
Unknown:  

Pre Hillfort Activity:  ✓  Pre-rampart ditch may be part of an enclosure, probably c7th/6th century BC.

Post Hillfort Activity:  ✓  Saxon burial in rampart.

Artefactual:  Pottery typology, good excavated stratigraphical contexts

Investigations

Mentioned in Aubrey's Monumenta Britannica (1665-1693), on Roque's map of 1762. Geophysical survey by English Heritage of whole interior, excavation by Oxford University of interior, E entrance and rampart.

1st Identified Written Reference (1665-93):  Aubrey's Monumenta Britannica
1st Identified Map Depiction (1762):  Roque
Geophysical Survey (06/04/1993):  see Payne et. al. 2006.
Excavation (1996-7):  see Lock et. al. 2005.
Other (2003):  Visited by Hillfort Study Group

Interior Features

No surface evidence, geophysics shows pits and roundhouses confirmed by excavation.

Water Source

None but springs at the foot of the chalk scarp to the N.

None:  
Spring:  
Stream:  
Pool:  
Flush:  
Well:  
Other:  

Surface

Heavily ploughed.

No Known Features:  
Round Stone Structures:  
Rectangular Stone Structures:  
Curvilinear Platforms:  
Other Roundhouse Evidence:  
Pits:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  

Excavation

Good range of structural and artefactual evidence.

No Known Excavation:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Geophysics

Pits and roundhouses

No Known Geophysics:  
Pits:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Finds

Good range of finds and environmental from excavation.

No Known Finds:  
Pottery:  
Metal:  
Metalworking:  
Human Bones:  
Animal Bones:  
Lithics:  
Environmental:  
Other:  

Aerial

None

APs Not Checked:  
None:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Other:  

Entrances

Original entrance to E, out-turned with hornwork. Modern breaks for N-S road and to NW. Rampart configuration to SW may suggest a blocked entrance.

Total Number of Breaks Through Ramparts:  

Number of Possible Original Entrances:   

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (East):  Out-turned:  Inner rampart is out-turned to south of entrance, northern destroyed.
Entrance 1 (East):  Hornwork
Entrance 2 (Southwest):  Simple Gap:  Blocked? Shown by change of direction in the rampart.

Enclosing Works

Single bank and ditch, counterscarp bank visible to S and NW.

Enclosed Area 1:  10.7ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  10.7ha.

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✓  

Number of Ramparts:  1:  Counterscarp bank visible

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts NW Quadrant:  1

Current Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  
Unknown:  

Multi-period Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:  
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  

Surface Evidence

Some stone visible where damaged

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Rubble:  
Wall-walk:  
Evidence of Timber:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
Other:  

Excavated Evidence

Excavation has shown complex phasing, from palisade through several forms of box rampart to dump rampart, berm and counterscarp bank visible to S.

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Murus Duplex:  
Timber-framed:  
Timber-laced:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
No Known Excavation:  
Other:  

Gang Working

Gang Working:  ✗ 

Ditches

Ditches:  

Number of Ditches:  1:  Single ditch, flat bottomed, c.5m deep.

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Levick, P. 2015. Later prehistoric and Roman landscapes on the Berkshire Downs. Oxford: BAR British Series 612.

Lock, G., Gosden, C. and Daly, P. 2005. Segsbury Camp. Excavations in 1996 and 1997 at an Iron Age hillfort on the Oxfordshire Ridgeway. Oxford: Oxford University School of Archaeology Monograph 61.

Payne A. W., 1994 LETCOMBE CASTLE OR SEGSBURY CAMP LETCOMBE REGIS, OXFORDSHIRE: INTERIM REPORT ON GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY, AM LAB REPORT 119/93

Payne, A., Corney, M. and Cunliffe, B. 2006. The Wessex Hillforts Project. Extensive Survey of Hillforts in Central Southern England. London: English Heritage, 89-96.

Terms of Use

The online version of the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland should be cited as:

Lock, G. and Ralston, I. 2017.  Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland. [ONLINE] Available at: https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk.

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