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Malmesbury Cams Hill

In the civil parish of St Paul Malmesbury Without.
In the historic county of Wiltshire.
Modern Authority of Wiltshire.
1974 county of Wiltshire.
Medieval County of Wiltshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST94058577
Latitude 51.57077° Longitude -2.08723°

Malmesbury Cams Hill has been described as a certain Siege Work.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The ringwork on Cam's Hill is a particularly fine example of this type of comparatively rare medieval earthwork. It survives in excellent condition and offers considerable potential for the survival of primary archaeological deposits and of environmental material. The strategic significance of the site and its relationship to other contemporary monuments within the vicinity, offers considerable scope for the study and interpretation of the medieval settlement pattern and social organisation in this area of the landscape.
The monument includes a ringwork on Cam's Hill, set in a good strategic position on the westerly crest of a north-south spur. This siting would seem to have been designed to overlook the valley of the River Avon, believed to have been an important routeway during the medieval period. The earthwork remains comprise a strong circular enclosure bank, up to 18m wide at base and averaging 1.8m high. This is surrounded by a substantial ditch averaging 4m wide and 1.5m deep, giving a total diameter for the site of some 50m. The ditch survives as an earthwork around the south and east sides only, but is also believed to exist as a buried feature around the north and west also.
The central area enclosed within the defences is characteristically small, having a diameter of only 20m, an area of some 0.03ha. This interior is raised slightly above the surrounding natural ground level to a height of some 0.5m. The internal scarp of the enclosing bank is lowered approximately midway along the south east quarter, representing the position of the original entrance. There are no traces of any structures in the interior of the enclosure. (Scheduling Report)

The earthwork remains of a small ringwork on Cam's Hill. It survives as a circular enclosure bank surrounded by a substantial ditch, now visible on the south and east sides only. The enclosed central area has a diameter of only 20m and is raised slightly above the natural ground level. There is evidence of an entrance roughly midway along the south east quarter. Possibly built circa 1144 as one of three siege castles built to besiege Malmesbury. The location of the other two siege castles is not known. (PastScape)

Behind a long bank, which has been suggested as a siege line but is probably a field boundary or park pale. If this line is a park pale then the enclosure may be connected to the park rather than being a military structure. However, this site is morphologically similar to known siege castles of the period such as Danes Castle, Exeter and The Rings at Corfe however, unlike these examples, in does not have a direct line of site of Malmesbury Castle, being on the reverse side of the hill.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
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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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