Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

EN0614: Castle Dore  

(Ruddon)

Sources: Esri, DigitalGlobe, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, GeoEye, USDA FSA, USGS, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, and the GIS User Community

HER:  Cornwall and Scilly MCO48/49 (26690)

NMR:  SX 15 SW 1 (432238)

SM:  1006691

NGR:  SX10345482

X:  210340  Y:  54820  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

Small, multivallate, partial contour hillfort, located on prominent ridge overlooking at least two tributaries of River Fowey. Steep surrounding slopes to E and W, ridge to N and S moderate. Circular interior area enclosing 0.5ha. Defined by good inner rampart and ditch with further, mainly concentric, outer rampart and part-buried outer ditch, diverging from inner rampart only on E to form more complex entrance annex. Mapped as three banks in 1847, no trace of third now. Glacis construction of ramparts. Interior partially excavated 1936 and 1937 by C.A. Raleigh-Radford. More recent reinterpretation of results suggests site constructed 5th-4th centuries BC based on ceramics. Later phase followed period of abandonment when entrance remodelled c. 4th-3rd centuries BC. Interior with four-to six-post structures (c. 20) and roundhouse remains, defined by post- holes with complex building sequence and frequent replacements of structures over long time. Two oval structures,possibly Romano-British or later occupation, but pottery assemblage suggests abandonment before Roman period. Finds included South-Western Decorated pottery and cordoned wares, late Iron Age bead, amphorae, Iron Age imported glass bracelets and a glass bead. Finds relating to skirmish between Charles I and Earl of Essex 1644 when Parliamentarian forces retreated into earthworks and held position until dark. Site in Arthurian legend. Plough damage to interior, trees and scrub on banks. On 1st Ed. OS map (1881-82).

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed

Location

X:  -519644  Y:  6509307  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -4.668043  Latitude:  50.362582  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  England

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Cornwall

Historic County:   Cornwall

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  St Sampson

Condition

Plough damage to interior, trees and scrub on banks. Mapped as three banks in 1847, no trace of third now.

Extant:  
Cropmark:  
Likely Destroyed:  

Land Use

Trees, scrub and pasture.

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

Landscape

Hillfort Type

Small, multivallate, partial contour hillfort, located on prominent ridge overlooking at least two tributaries of River Fowey. Steep surrounding slopes to E and W, ridge to N and S moderate.

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:  Ridge

Aspect

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

Elevation

Altitude:  105.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  Parish/Townland

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Tywardreath and Par

Dating Evidence

Interior partially excavated 1936 and 1937 by C.A. Raleigh-Radford. More recent reinterpretation of results suggests site constructed 5th-4th centuries BC based on ceramics. Later phase followed period of abandonment when entrance remodelled c. 4th-3rd centuries BC. Finds included middle Iron Age South-Western Decorated pottery, Glastonbury ware possibly to late Iron Age, late Iron Age bead and amphora, middle Iron Age imported glass bracelets and a glass bead. Two oval structures possibly Romano-British or later occupation, but pottery assemblage suggests abandonment before Roman period.

Reliability:  B - Medium

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

Pre Hillfort Activity:  ✗  

Post Hillfort Activity:  ✓  Skirmish between Charles I and Earl of Essex during Civil War in 1644 when Parliamentarian forces retreated into the earthworks and held the position until dark.

Artefactual:  Middle and late Iron Age finds.

Investigations

First mentioned by William Worcester in 1470. Mapped by H. MacLauchlan as three banks in 1847, no trace of third now. On 1st Ed. OS map (1881-82). Excavated 1936 and 1937 by C.A. Raleigh-Radford.

1st Identified Written Reference (1470):  First mentioned by William Worcester.
1st Identified Map Depiction (1847):  Mapped by H. MacLaughlan.
Other (1881-82):  OS map.
Excavation (1936-7):  Interior part-excavation by C.A. Raleigh-Radford.

Interior Features

Interior contained four-to six-post structures (c. 20) and roundhouse remains, defined by postholes indicating complex building sequence with frequent replacements of structures over a prolonged period. Two oval structures possibly Romano-British or later occupation, although pottery assemblage suggests abandonment before Roman period. South-Western decorated pottery and cordoned wares, late Iron Age bead and amphorae found. Iron Age imported glass bracelets and a glass bead.

Water Source

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

Surface

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

Excavation

Interior contained c. 20 four- to six-post structures and round houses remains, defined by post holes indicating complex building sequence with frequent replacements of structures over a prolonged period. Two oval structures possibly Romano-British or later occupation, although pottery assemblage suggests abandonment before Roman period.

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

Geophysics

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

Finds

South-Western Decorated pottery and cordoned wares, late Iron Age bead and amphora found. Iron Age imported glass bracelets and a glass bead.

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

Aerial

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

Entrances

E entrance (inner and outer), the inner re-designed with inturn, roadway linking the two. Many modern gaps in circuit.

Total Number of Breaks Through Ramparts:  1:  One major gap, but also many modern gaps in circuit not defined.

Number of Possible Original Entrances:   

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Entrance 1 (East):  In-turned

Enclosing Works

Circular interior area has good inner rampart and ditch with further, mainly concentric, outer rampart and part-buried outer ditch, which diverge from inner rampart only on E to form more complex entrance annexe. Glacis construction of ramparts.

Enclosed Area 1:  0.5ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  0.5ha.

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✓  Phased construction now re-interpretation of earlier results, suggesting site constructed 5th - 4th centuries BC based on ceramics. Later phase followed period of abandonment when entrance remodelled c. 4th-3rd centuries BC. Whether earlier univallate or bivallate uncertain.

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✓  

Number of Ramparts:  2

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  2
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  2
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  2
Number of Ramparts NW Quadrant:  2

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

Glacis construction of ramparts.

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

Excavated Evidence

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:  2

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Fitzpatrick, A.P. 1985. The Iron Age bracelets from Castle Dore, Cornish Archaeol, 24, 133-140.

Henderson, J. 1985. The glass from Castle Dore: archaeological and chemical significance, Cornish Archaeol, 24, 141-47.

Quinell, H. 1986. Cornwall during the Iron Age and the Roman period, Cornish Archaeol, 25, 111-34.

Quinnell, H. and Harris, D. 1985. Castle Dore; the chronology reconsidered, Cornish Archaeol, 24, 123-132.

Rahtz, P. 1971. Castle Dore - a reappraisal of the post-Roman structures, Cornish Archaeol, 10, 49-54.

Ralegh Radford, C.A. 1951. Report on the excavations at Castle Dore, J Royal Inst Cornwall, 1, 1-11.

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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