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Croft Ambrey Camp, Croft Estate, Aymestrey

SMR Number
: 177
Grid Reference
: SO 444 668
Parish
: AYMESTREY, HEREFORDSHIRE

Roughly triangular, main enclosure, internal area 8.25a and subsidiary enclosure on S side. Main end defended on S by 3 ramparts, 2 intermedial ditches + deep & wide spoil ditch within enclosure. W end also had 3 ramparts & what may be proper entrance in NW corner. The N side (steepest) defended by 2 scarps with intermediate berm that may have been a ditch. 2 entrances: at E end (approached by sunken way) & in SW corner, inner rampart turned inwards on E side. Outer enclosure defended on S by 2 ramparts & intermedial ditch & poss outer ditch. (1)
Excavation suggests continual occupation from c6BC-AD48. Village with small rectangular buildings closely set everywhere. Started as enclosure of 2.2h, increased c390BC to 3.6h. 20 successive sets of gates at SW and W entrances. Some huts rebuilt 6 times... (2)
Interim conclusions from the excavations carried out by the Woolhope Club between 1960 and 1966. (8) (10) (12)
C. Musson's 2002 colour slide aerial photograph catalogue (13) (14) (15)
Multivallate Iron Age hillfort. (16)(17)
C. Musson, colour negative aerial photograph survey 2006 (18) (19) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25)
A detailed identification survey of the hillfort was undertaken in 2002 as part of the wider survey of the Croft Estate begun in 2001. This resulted in the recognition of the sole surviving earthwork length of the earliest enclosure, and the recording of a whole series of artificial terraces/hut stances on the north-facing slope within the northern defences. A three or four phase key developmental sequence for the fort during the Iron Age can now tentatively be defined, starting with a simple large univallate enclosure. Interestingly, this appears to have been identical in plan to (but larger than) the fort at Pyon Wood sited just below Croft Ambrey, a mile to the west, and north of Aymestrey village. A first multivallate phase appears to have comprised a simple elaboration of the existing bank and ditch, with an expansion to the west. A third phase may have comprised further elaboration of the western and southern defences. The sequence may have culminated in the creation of the largest earthworks visible today. These are the massive double banks and ditches that now subdivide the interior, and that feature one of the largest quarry-ditches present in any British hillfort. This sequence can be correlated reasonably well with Stanford's excavated sequence, but does contradict the idea that there was an "annexe" to the south of the "plateau camp". This interpretation potentially also resolves the long-standing controversy over the four-poster "houses" claimed by Stanford to exist within the inner defences on the crest of the ridge. They can be seen rather to have been "store-houses" (not necessarily "granaries" - although one in the principal quarry ditch sequence was associated with a mass of grain) surrounded to north, west and south by circular houses. The survey also produced an alternative reading of a series of earthworks in the interior (mostly sited on the inner lip of the principal quarry ditch) that had previously been interpreted as modern features of unknown purpose, or indeed as (somewhat peculiar) pillow-mounds. A series of ten discrete features were recorded in 2002, upon one of which were found pieces of tile and brick brought up by mole activity. It seems possible that, like the excavated example within the fort to the south, these were instead the sites of shrines belonging to the Romano-British period, after the fort had been abandoned. (26)
Survey (27)

Monument Type(s)

  1. HILLFORT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)

Associated Files

    Sources and Further Reading

    1. <1>SHE3363 - Scheduling record: 02/1985. Schedule. Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (English Heritage).
    2. <2>SHE12657 - Bibliographic reference: Stanford, S C. 1974. Croft Ambrey. Croft Ambrey.
    3. <3>SHE267 - Bibliographic reference: Royal Commission on Historical Monuments. 1934. Inventory of Monuments, Herefordshire North-West, Vol III. Herefordshire North-West, Vol III. III. Pages 14.
    4. <4>SHE3341 - Bibliographic reference: 1972. SC46NW1. Ordnance Survey.
    5. <5>SHE8335 - Bibliographic reference: Forde Johnstone. Plan. Hillforts of IA England & Wales.
    6. <6>SHE2235 - Bibliographic reference: Walters, H B. 1908. Romano-British Herefordshire (pp 167-199). The Victoria History of the County of Hereford edited by William Page, Vol I. Pages 208.
    7. <7>SHE9847 - Bibliographic reference: Lynch, Burgess. Prehistoric Man in Wales and the west.
    8. <8>SHE12631 - Bibliographic reference: Stanford, S C. 1967. Croft Ambrey Hill-Fort- some interim conclusions. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. XXXIX Part I. 39.
    9. <9>SHE12660 - Bibliographic reference: Stanford, S C. 1991. The Archaeology of the Welsh Marches. Second (revised) edition.
    10. <10>SHE12628 - Bibliographic reference: Stanford, S C. 1964. Reports of Sectional Recorders: Archaeology, 1964. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. XXXVIII Part I. XXXVIII 1964 Part I. Pages 86.
    11. <10>SHE12648 - Bibliographic reference: Stanford, S C. 1965. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. XXXVIII 1965 Part II. Pages 156.
    12. <13>SHE17267 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 13/07/2002. 02-C-0018. The Herefordshire Aerial Survey Phase I. Oblique. Colour.
    13. <14>SHE17268 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 13/07/2002. 02-C-0019. The Herefordshire Aerial Survey Phase I. Oblique. Colour.
    14. <15>SHE17269 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 13/07/2002. 02-C-0020. The Herefordshire Aerial Survey Phase I. Oblique. Colour.
    15. <16>SHE18473 - Unpublished Report: Ray, Keith and Tim Hoverd. 2003. Croft Castle Estate: An Archaeological Survey 2001-2002. Volume 1. Herefordshire Archaeology. 49.
    16. <17>SHE15928 - Unpublished Report: Ray, Keith and Tim Hoverd. 2003. Croft Castle Estate: An Archaeological Survey 2001-2002. Volume 2. Herefordshire Archaeology. 49.
    17. <18>SHE18071 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 2006. 06-CN-0505. The Herefordshire Aerial Survey Phase I. Oblique. 645Colour.
    18. <19>SHE18072 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 2006. 06-CN-0506. The Herefordshire Aerial Survey Phase I. Oblique. 645Colour.
    19. <20>SHE18045 - Unpublished Report: Field, David and Smith, Nicky. 2008. Croft Ambrey, Aymestrey, Herefordshire. Investigation and Analytical Survey of Earthworks. English Heritage Research Department Report Series. 36-2008.
    20. <21>SHE18073 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 2006. 06-CN-0507. The Herefordshire Aerial Survey Phase I. Oblique. 645Colour.
    21. <22>SHE18074 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 2006. 06-CN-0508. The Herefordshire Aerial Survey Phase I. Oblique. 645Colour.
    22. <23>SHE18075 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 2006. 06-CN-0509. The Herefordshire Aerial Survey Phase I. Oblique. 645Colour.
    23. <24>SHE18076 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 2006. 06-CN-0510. The Herefordshire Aerial Survey Phase I. Oblique. 645Colour.
    24. <25>SHE18082 - Aerial Photograph: Musson, C R. 2006. 06-CN-0515. The Herefordshire Aerial Survey Phase I. Oblique. 645Colour.
    25. <26>SHE18760 - Article in serial: Shoesmith, Ron. 2002. Archaeology, 2002, Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club, Volume L 2002, Part III. 386-403. Pages 395-396.
    26. <27>SHE18983 - Unpublished Report: Alexander, K., Claris, P. and Lutley, W.. 1985. The National Trust Archaeological and Biological Survey. Croft Ambrey, Hereford and Worcester.

    Associated events

    Protected status

    1. Registered Park or Garden (II*) 1875: CROFT CASTLE
    2. Scheduled Monument 76: Croft Ambrey (camp)

    Associated Historic Landscape Character Records

    1. HHE75 - Woodland - Woodland
    Last Updated: 23/07/2010 12:35:57