Information for record number MWA669:
Possible Hillfort on Gredenton Hill, Fenny Compton.

Summary The site of a possible hillfort which dates to the Iron Age. The earthworks of the ramparts are visible on aerial photographs and it is located 1km south west of Fenny Compton.
What Is It?  
Type: Hillfort, Rampart
Period: Iron Age (800 BC - 42 AD)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Fenny Compton
District: Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 40 51
(Data represented on this map shows the current selected record as a single point, this is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent an accurate or complete representation of archaeological sites or features)
Level of Protection National - Old SMR PrefRef (Grade: )
Scheduled Monument (Grade: )
Sites & Monuments Record
Picture(s) attached


Source Number  

1 One of the spurs of the Burton Dassett hills, called Gredenton Hill, has its steep sides scarped into a series of artificial terraces. These terraces have every appearance of being the remains of ancient entrenchments which once encircled the summit of the hill, and which have been reduced by weather and the action of the plough to their present condition. The top of the hill is in a strong and commanding position and two little streams that run at the bottom of valley cuts on either side of the site probably once added to its natural defences.
2 A camp following the outline of the flat top of the hill, with lynchets down the slopes of the NW and SE sides. The SW side has been much disturbed by quarrying operations.
3 The air photographs are most impressive, but on the ground it is evident that the whole pattern is due to a combination of ridge and furrow, plough headlands, quarrying and soil-creep: and that there was never a hillfort.
4 Two flat terraces circumvate the hill on the E and N sides, but peter out on the other sides of the hill. Some strips of richer grass may indicate the location of ditches. There may originally have been as many as 5 ramparts, but all have now been heavily denuded. There are traces of ridge and furrow on the slopes and even the top of the hill.
6 If this was a hillfort it appears likely that it was bivallate. On balance it seems probable that it is a hillfort.
7 SAM List.
8 Correspondence about the management agreement.
9 Correspondence with the tenant of Grange Farm about possible earthworks.
10 The alleged Iron Age hillfort. The earthworks present (and still visible on recent aerial photographs) are now thought to be the result of natural geology and topography as well as plough headlands, ridge and furrow, quarrying and soil creep. The ridge and furrow across the site was mapped as part of the SE Warwickshire and Cotswolds HLS Target Areas NMP.
11 It is not possible to tell whether this site was a hillfort without excavation. The ridge and furrow has caused huge terracing around three sides which obscure any rampart or ditches and the fourth side is destroyed by quarrying. There are also two areas of quarrying inside the possible circuit. However, over three quarters of the possible interior survives (under ridge and furrow). A Google Eartth image (1999) suggests that a bank, beneath the ridge and furrow, cuts the area approximately in half. It is plausible that this is the actual SW rampart of the possible fort.

Source No: 5
Source Type: Aerial Photograph
Title: SP2661 and SP2662
Author/originator: Various
Date: Various
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: SP2661AB-AC SP2662A-
Source No: 1
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Victoria County History, vol 1, Warwickshire
Author/originator: Doubleday H A & Page W (eds)
Date: 1904
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 1
Source No: 8
Source Type: Correspondence
Title: Gredenton Hill, Fenny Compton
Author/originator: EH
Date: 1990
Page Number:
Source No: 9
Source Type: Correspondence
Title: Grange Farm, Fenny Compton
Author/originator: Leicestershire CC
Date: 1989
Page Number:
Source No: 10
Source Type: Desk Top Study
Title: SE Warwickshire and Cotswolds NMP Project
Author/originator: Amanda Dickson
Date: 2010-2012
Page Number:
Source No: 6
Source Type: Record Card/Form
Title: Fenny Compton
Author/originator: Hingley R
Date: 1985
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: Field Survey Form
Source No: 3
Source Type: Record Card/Form
Title: OS Card 25NE6
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1968
Page Number:
Source No: 2
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: Gredenton Hill, Fenny Compton
Author/originator: Ministry of Works/DoE
Page Number:
Source No: 7
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: SAM List 1983
Author/originator: DoE
Date: 1983
Page Number:
Source No: 4
Source Type: Unpublished document
Title: M40 Survey, Parish of Fenny Compton
Author/originator: Usher H, Southam District Local History Society
Page Number:
Source No: 11
Source Type: Verbal communication
Title: Pers. Comm.
Author/originator: B Gethin
Date: 2013 onwards
Page Number:
Site of a possible hillfort near Fenny Compton
Copyright: Warwickshire County Council
Date: 1986
Click here for larger image  
A possible Iron Age hillfort, Fenny Compton
Copyright: Warwickshire County Council
Date: 1996
Click here for larger image  
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Word or Phrase
none Scheduled Monument Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) are those archaeological sites which are legally recognised as being of national importance. They can range in date from prehistoric times to the Cold War period. They can take many different forms, including disused buildings or sites surviving as earthworks or cropmarks.

SAMs are protected by law from unlicensed disturbance and metal detecting. Written consent from the Secretary of State must be obtained before any sort of work can begin, including archaeological work such as geophysical survey or archaeological excavation. There are nearly 200 SAMs in Warwickshire.
source OS Card Ordnance Survey Record Card. Before the 1970s the Ordnance Survey (OS) were responsible for recording archaeological monuments during mapping exercises. This helped the Ordnance Survey to decide which monuments to publish on maps. During these exercises the details of the monuments were written down on record cards. Copies of some of the cards are kept at the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record. The responsibility for recording archaeological monuments later passed to the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments. back
source SAM List Scheduled Ancient Monument List. A list or schedule of archaelogical and historic monuments that are considered to be of national importance. The list contains a detailed description of each Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) and a map showing their location and extent. By being placed on the schedule, SAMs are protected by law from any unauthorised distrubance. The list has been compiled and is maintained by English Heritage. It is updated periodically. back
technique Earthwork Earthworks can take the form of banks, ditches and mounds. They are usually created for a specific purpose. A bank, for example, might be the remains of a boundary between two or more fields. Some earthworks may be all that remains of a collapsed building, for example, the grassed-over remains of building foundations.

In the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky than during the other seasons, earthworks have larger shadows. From the air, archaeologists are able to see the patterns of the earthworks more easily. Earthworks can sometimes be confusing when viewed at ground level, but from above, the general plan is much clearer.

Archaeologists often carry out an aerial survey or an earthwork survey to help them understand the lumps and bumps they can see on the ground.
technique excavation Archaeologists excavate sites so that they can find information and recover archaeological materials before they are destroyed by erosion, construction or changes in land-use.

Depending on how complicated and widespread the archaeological deposits are, excavation can be done by hand or with heavy machinery. Archaeologists may excavate a site in a number of ways; either by open area excavation, by digging a test pit or a trial trench.
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technique Aerial Photograph Aerial photographs are taken during an aerial survey, which involves looking at the ground from above. It is usually easier to see cropmarks and earthworks when they are viewed from above. Aerial photographs help archaeologists to record what they see and to identify new sites. There are two kinds of aerial photographs; oblique and vertical. back
period Iron Age About 800 BC to 43 AD

The Iron Age comes after the Bronze Age and before the Roman period. It is a time when people developed the skills and knowledge to work and use iron, hence the name ‘Iron Age’ which is given to this period. Iron is a much tougher and more durable metal than bronze but it also requires more skill to make objects from it. People continued to use bronze during this period.
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monument GRANGE * An outlying farm or estate, usually belonging to a religious order or feudal lord. Specifically related to core buildings and structures associated with monastic land holding. Use specific term where known. back
monument SITE * Unclassifiable site with minimal information. Specify site type wherever possible. back
monument RIDGE AND FURROW * A series of long, raised ridges separated by ditches used to prepare the ground for arable cultivation. This was a technique, characteristic of the medieval period. back
monument FORT * A permanently occupied position or building designed primarily for defence. back
monument RAMPART * A protective earthen mound, often the main defence of a fortification. back
monument WELL * A shaft or pit dug in the ground over a supply of spring-water. back
monument DEFENCE * This is the top term for the class. See DEFENCE Class List for narrow terms. back
monument PLOUGH HEADLAND * A narrow strip of land where a plough and team could turn. This usually remains higher than the ploughed land. back
monument DITCH * A long and narrow hollow or trench dug in the ground, often used to carry water though it may be dry for much of the year. back
monument HILLFORT * A hilltop enclosure bounded by one or more substantial banks, ramparts and ditches. Use more specific type where known. back
monument STREAM * A natural flow or current of water issuing from a source. back
monument FARM * A tract of land, often including a farmhouse and ancillary buildings, used for the purpose of cultivation and the rearing of livestock, etc. Use more specific type where known. back
monument TARGET * Any structure or object, used for the purpose of practice shooting by aerial, seaborne or land mounted weapons. back
monument EARTHWORK * A bank or mound of earth used as a rampart or fortification. back
monument LYNCHET * A bank formed at the end of a field by soil which, loosened by the plough, gradually moves down slope through a combination of gravity and erosion. back
monument TERRACE * A row of houses attached to and adjoining one another and planned and built as one unit. back

* Copyright of English Heritage (1999)

English Heritage National Monuments Record