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Alderton Dixton Hill

In the civil parish of Alderton.
In the historic county of Gloucestershire.
Modern Authority of Gloucestershire.
1974 county of Gloucestershire.
Medieval County of Gloucestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO986306
Latitude 51.97432° Longitude -2.02207°

Alderton Dixton Hill has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The earthworks on Dixton Hill are the remains of an Iron Age hill-fort with a Norman motte and bailey superimposed at the south-east end. (Country Life) There has presumably been habitation near this site since Norman times, for the family owning the land in the 12th century took its name from Dixton. The manor-house at Dixton, rebuilt in the 16th century, had an apparently medieval chapel near-by, and perhaps the small village was grouped around it. (VCH)

The alleged hill-fort on Dixton Hill and the motte associated with it cannot be accepted as such. Surface features are partly geological and partly artificial, perhaps to do with quarrying (RCHME).
Though the features allegedly part of a hillfort can be discounted as natural it is not possible to entirely exclude as accidental the banks and ditches forming the supposed motte and bailey. They are obviously artificial features with the banks correctly placed to defend the roughly circular mound of soft disturbed earth previously identified as the motte. This sits at the end of the spur in a position well suited for a motte, commanding as it does the valley and approaches from both East and West. (The "relatively low South edge" (Cave and Kellaway), is actually only a few feet lower than the crest of the outcrop yet still about 200 ft above the valley floor).
Therefore, though the feature may not be entirely acceptable as a motte and double bailey it would seem to have been intentionally constructed, or partially constructed if unfinished, for some purpose at present unexplained (F1 ANK 10-NOV-71).
The earthwork remains of the possible Iron Age hillfort and superimposed Medieval motte described by the previous authorities were mapped from aerial photographs as part of the English Heritage: Gloucestershire NMP project.
The remains of three linear banks, possible rampart banks, were recorded on the northern flank of the hillfort enclosure. The circular mound supposed to be that of a motte and bailey occupies the prominent location on the end of the hilltop ridge. This mound measures approximately 42m in diameter and appears to be encircled by a ditch. Beyond this to the north there is a small enclosed area 70m x 35m occupying the full width of the top of the ridge at this point. This could be a bailey enclosure. This is divided from the remainder of the ridge by a cross-dyke (NMR OS/70268 069-070 13-JUL-1970). (PastScape)

This is a prominent hilltop site and some of the earthworks may have had Iron Age origins but the close presence of Dixton Manor House does suggest the possibility that there may have had some post-Conquest use. However, the earthwork are not clear and the hill top site is not really favourable for a residence. A proper survey of the earthworks with Lidar may be helpful in resolving the interpretation of the site. Was this unfinished castle?
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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