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Littledean Camp

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Little Dean Camp; Old Castle of Dene

In the civil parish of Littledean.
In the historic county of Gloucestershire.
Modern Authority of Gloucestershire.
1974 county of Gloucestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO67661349
Latitude 51.81910° Longitude -2.47057°

Littledean Camp has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

The Norman ring-work known as Littledean Camp was excavated by Dr C Scott-Garrett and the Forest of Dean Local History Society in 1958. A rough floor of sandstone pitching was found in the interior, and an isolated part of the surounding bank to the west of the entrance was thought to have formed the base for a wooden watch-tower. The paucity of finds, which included an iron key dated to the late 11th or early 12th century and pottery of the first half of the 12th century, suggested a short period of occupation, and the site was taken to be that of the "Old Castle of Dene" mentioned in charters of Henry II (Renn: Scott-Garett).
A ring motte, consisting of a strong circular bank of stone and earth, and an outer ditch. The interior, which is slightly above the natural ground level, shows no trace of any structure and is grass covered. The earthwork is approximately 70.0m in overall diameter. The bank averages 2.3m high measured from the interior, and is from 4.0m to 5.0m high measured from the bottom of the ditch. The ditch averages 10.0m wide at the top and is from 0.7m to 2.0m deep.
In the south-east quadrant there is a 4.0m wide gap in the ban and a causeway 9.0m wide at the bottom and 4.0m wide at the top, across the ditch. The earthwork is grass and tree covered and is in good condition. Slight mutilation in the northeast quadrant of the ditch is the result of earth digging. The motte is situated upon a hill-top with a commanding view of the Severn Valley (F1 NVQ 08-APR-58). (PastScape)

May be the 'old castle of Dene' mentioned in 1153-4, although this has also been identified as Stow Green, Newnham or, most probably, the Iron Age hill fort of Welshbury.

Now isolated from settlement. However village nucleation in this area may have been quite late and the site may represent a dispersed settlement site from before the consolidation of settlement in the valley below the hill. This, along with Davidson's theory on the late date of the introduction of mottes, may well support a C11 date for this site.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
OS getamap   Streetmap   Old-Maps   Where's the path   NLS maps  
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   EarthTools   GeoHack  
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Sources of information, references and further reading
  • Websites (Gatehouse is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
  • Books
    • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of Gloucestershire and Bristol (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 22
      Currie, C.R.J. and Herbert, N.M. (eds), 1996, VCH Gloucestershire Vol. 5 p. 159 online transcription
      King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 182, 184, 558
      Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 227
      Burrow, Edward J., 1919, The Ancient Entrenchments and Camps of Gloucestershire (Cheltenham and London) p. 104-5
      Nicholls, H.G., 1858, The Forest of Dean; An Historical and Descriptive Account (London: John Murray) p. 178 online copy
  • Periodical Articles
    • Walker, D., 1991, 'Gloucestershire Castles' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol. 109 p. 5-23 online copy
      Rawes, B., 1977, 'A Check List of Castles and other Fortified Sites of Medieval Date in Gloucestershire' Glevensis Vol. 11 p. 39-41 online copy
      King, D.J.C. and Alcock, L., 1969, 'Ringworks in England and Wales' Château Gaillard Vol. 3 p. 90-127
      Scott-Garrett, C., 1958, 'Littledean Camp' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol. 77 p. 48-60 online copy
      Playne, 1877, Cotteswold Naturalists Field Club Vol. 6 p. 234
  • Primary (Medieval documents or transcriptions of such documents - This section is far from complete and the secondary sources should be consulted for full references.)
    • Conway Davies, J. (ed.), 1960, The Cartae Antiquae, Rolls 11-20 (Pipe Roll Society Publications 71) p. 133
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This record last updated on Saturday, November 15, 2014

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