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Whitsburn Hill

In the civil parish of Worthen With Shelve.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ328029
Latitude 52.62005° Longitude -2.99270°

Whitsburn Hill has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Despite some modification to the defences, the ringwork on Whitsburn Hill is a good example of this class of monument. It is one of the smallest ringworks known in Shropshire and its principal purpose appears to have been to support a watchtower, the remains of which will survive as a buried feature. The form of the ringwork is also unusual in that the interior has been been partially raised above the level of the surrounding land. Organic remains, preserved in the buried ground surface beneath the bank and the raised interior and deposited within the ditches, will provide information about the local environment and the use of the land prior to and following the construction of the ringwork.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a ringwork, situated on a gentle north west facing slope on the northern flank of Whitsburn Hill. From this location there is a commanding view of the whole Rea Brook valley. The ringwork is broadly contemporary with other medieval fortifications in the vicinity including the mottes near Village Farm and Lady House Farm, which are the subject of separate schedulings. The ringwork is an oval-shaped enclosure, measuring approximately 32m north to south by 36m east to west. The external ditch is between 5m and 8m wide. The portion to the south is about 1m deep and is waterlogged, while the northern and eastern portions survive as a buried feature as they have been largely infilled. Material excavated from the ditch has been used to raise the northern half of the interior above the level of the surrounding land in order to create a level building platform, that stands up to 1.9m high and probably supported a watchtower. Spoil from this operation has also been used to create a low bank, 4m wide, around the top of the internal platform. It defines a circular area about 11m in diameter. The north western part of the bank has been subsequently reduced in height. (Scheduling Report)

Within the very large Domesday Manor of Worthin. There were 13 berewicks recorded in the Domesday entry many of which may have been farmstead held be some form of military tenure. However there is nothing to suggest this site was one of these or that there was a medieval settlement here. Even if this was the site of a farmstead how such a small 'knight's fee' manor is supposed to fund the manning of a watch tower remains a unanswered, indeed usually unasked, question. Quite the value of a watch tower for this specific site is also an open question. Gatehouse has questions as to the medieval dating of this site.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:34

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