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Soudley Camp

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
East Dean

In the civil parish of Ruspidge And Soudley.
In the historic county of Gloucestershire.
Modern Authority of Gloucestershire.
1974 county of Gloucestershire.
Medieval County of Gloucestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO66161058
Latitude 51.79284° Longitude -2.49204°

Soudley Camp 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.


Soudley Camp consists of an enclosed area of not more than one-eighth of an acre situated on the end of a ridge. The defences on the north and west consist of a bank of great strength with an outer ditch. On the south side the escarpment of the hill forms a natural defence and on the east there is only a slight bank (Witts).
A small level topped projection, triangular in shape, 150 ft long with a strong bank and ditch on the west. The other sides have steep natural defence. The gap in the bank seems to be modern or at least not original.
The small area enclosed and the massive bank, maximum 13ft high from the bottom of the ditch, suggest a medieval rather than an IA origin, and I have catalogued it as a castle (Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments).
This earthwork has the appearance of a small IA promontory fort. It is roughly triangular and occupies the end of a spur. The western and wider end is protected by a very large bank and ditch which is IA in character and has an entrance in the centre, the NE and SE sides are protected by precipitous natural sloues. The site overlooks the junction of three valleys (F1 ANK 28-MAY-70).
D J C King is authoritative on castles but the identification of this earthwork as medieval is rather conjectural. The only artificial defence to be seen is the rampart cutting off the end of the spur and this is generally 2.0m high with a 1.0m deep outer ditch. It has more of an IA appearance than a medieval one, where a defensive bank or wall would normally be carried right round the perimeter irrespective of any natural defence.
The central simple gap in the rampart has been defaced by modern dumping but is almost certainly an original feature. Excavation is necessary for certain classification but on balance an IA origin seems more likely (F2 NVQ 08-JUN-70).
SO 6614 1058. Investigation of molehills at Soudley camp produced 5 pieces of Romano-British Severn Valley Ware pottery, several pieces of haematite and bloomery slag, charcoal and a flint flake (Walters). (PastScape)

Soudley Camp (SAM59), a small promontory fort of indeterminate date, Lower Soudley. Possibly an Iron Age promontory fort or defended medieval site. (Hoyle 2008)

D.J.C. King called this a partial ringwork in 1969 and 1983. The anonymous 'oral comment' recorded in the PastScape record also seems to King's. Sited by river crossing in a position which does not exclude possible medieval use. However the body of opinion does seem to consider this as an Iron Age site in origin and there is no actual evidence of medieval reuse.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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