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Hem Ring

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Westbury.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ35670575
Latitude 52.64520° Longitude -2.95323°

Hem Ring has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.


A small valley fort (sic) identified on APs by Dr St Joseph.
It was double ditched. A test trench across the inner ditch in 1958 tentatively identified three pre-Roman phases, the earliest a simple palisade trench. Four small fragments of pottery found. The pottery was shown to Messrs PA Barker, GC Dunning and JG Hurst and regarded by them as Roman with some medieval. A metalled trackway leading eastwards through the bank was reportedly found in 1959. L Chitty suggests that this may be the lost Domesday Manor of the Rea, and the site a Ringwork Castle (Guilbert G. 1976. Correspondence).
A little early medieval pottery was found. Field name Big Dollis (-dol + llys = meadow court?) (Chitty 1957-60)
There were no earthworks in any of the fields in the vicinity. Most of the fields have been ploughed in recent times. However, both the field names of the NGR and that adjoining it have the prefix Stony, in an area of no natural stone outcrops (Page 1977)
Sited in the Rea Valley about 100m OD. A roughly circular double- ditched enclosure, with simple entrance to S, c 120m in diameter. On the ground the site appears as a slight rise in the flat landscape. No surface features or defences are visible. The former owner reported that it was possible to see the cropmark on the ground when they owned it (Tyler Alan W. 1981-May. Site Visit Form).
The single palisade enclosure phase of this site was listed by Challis and Harding under Curvilinear enclosures (Iron Age) (Challis and Harding 1975).
The site of the deserted hamlet of Ree may have been the large circular ditched enclosure SW of Lower Hem Farm (VCH 1968).
Described by Whimster as a curvilinear double ditched enclosure (Whimster 1989).
Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1, Medium score as one of 20 Ringworks (Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File). (Shropshire HER)

Although must have been a marshy area in the early medieval period this certainly could have been an area of medieval settlement and there is a possibility that the Iron Age enclosure could have been reused as a ringwork. If so such reuse probably just represents rebuilding in the driest place rather than a particular need for a defended site.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:32

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