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Witney Town Defences

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Witney.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP35270921
Latitude 51.78051° Longitude -1.49015°

Witney Town Defences has been described as a Urban Defence although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.


Bond writes that a late Saxon possible circuit 'can be traced from topographical indications'. The Oxfordshire HER reads 'Reputed Saxon rampart round Witney; described by C19th historians. C20th housing estate and service trenching revealed no evidence.' If these defences existed is is highly unlikely they had any post-Conquest significance.

Moats and ramparts surrounding village sites. Witney
The Ordnance Survey Map marks the site of a 'Saxon Rampart' along the edge of the hill which falls abruptly to the valley on the west of the town. Such a work would appear from the map to have encircled the town on the south and west sides. There would appear, however, to be now no remains of it, unless the broad ditch of about 5 ft. deep on the south of the churchyard and vicarage grounds, and which is in the line of the course laid down on the map, represents it. This may, however, be a boundary ditch of a later time. At the foot of the hill, and running round this side of the town in a curve concentric with that marked for the rampart, is 'Emma's Dyke,' an artificial watercourse 12 ft. wide, but it would appear to have been constructed for drainage rather than for defence. (VCH 1907)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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