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Hathersage Camp Green

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Danes Camp

In the civil parish of Hathersage.
In the historic county of Derbyshire.
Modern Authority of Derbyshire.
1974 county of Derbyshire.
Medieval County of Derbyshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK23468190
Latitude 53.33344° Longitude -1.64904°

Hathersage Camp Green has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The VCH classes Camp Green as a 'single enclosured Camp' (and gives a rather distorted illustration suggesting a Motte and Bailey), and it is scheduled by MOW under 'Other secular sites and buildings'. But it is specifically, though briefly, referred to in Medieval Archaeology as a 'Norman ring-motte, 'in connection with a visit by members of the Society for Medieval Archaeology. No direct confirmation of this classification can be found, but Bray's description and illustration (predating extensive mutilation) of a circular enclosure, outside diam. 200 ft and inside 144 ft. with a 20 ft. high rampart surrounded by a deep ditch, seem to support it. Modern mutilation has reduced this earthwork to a mere semi-circle, with most of the southern features now obliterated by buildings and other developments. The remains however, indicate a former enclosure of some strength, with steeply sloping rampart and wide external ditch. The size, shape, situation, moat-like ditch and strength of this relatively small enclosure all confirm its classification as a ring-motte (F1 ECW 05-OCT-62). A Norman ring-work, known as Camp Green and less commonly as Danes Camp, is situated on a knoll north-east of St. Michael's Church, Hathersage. Excavations in 1976-7 by R.A. Hodges, University of Sheffield, failed to produce any conclusive dating evidence with the exception of a single C13 Brackenfield ware sherd. Nevertheless, Hodges is convinced, both by comparison and association, that this earthwork is a Norman ring-work. It is also included by King and Alcock in their list of Ringworks in England and Wales (1969) as a class A site. Part of this site was scheduled by the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments in 1948 and the remaining portion in 1979 when it was described as a probable medieval ringwork. (Derbyshire HER)

Camp Green ringwork is a large and reasonably well-preserved example which, although partially disturbed by modern development, retains substantial archaeological remains. In addition, it is believed to be one of the rarer forms of ringwork with an attached bailey, though this bailey is not included in the scheduling.
The monument is a medieval ringwork and comprises a roughly circular area with a diameter of 60m, enclosed on the north and east sides by a substantial earth rampart with a maximum internal height of c.2m and a 5m wide outer ditch with a maximum depth of c.2m. On its south side, the ringwork is defined by a steep scarp which drops into the ditch below. On the west side, the outer ditch is partially overlain by the modern road between Eastwood House and St Michael's Church. This area is not included in the scheduling as the extent and state of survival of the remains is not sufficiently understood. The interior of the ringwork is currently occupied by the 18th and 19th century Eastwood House and Eastwood Cottage, which was originally a barn. Documents indicate that a succession of farmhouses have occupied the site since the later medieval period. The remains of these and earlier buildings relating to the ringwork will survive as buried features within the open areas of the monument. William Bray, writing in 1783, and Thomas Bateman, writing in 1849, both describe the site as being fully enclosed by a rampart and ditch broken by three entrances. From the descriptions, two of the entrances appear to be those still in use at the north-east and south-east corners of the site, while the third, on the west side, is believed to have existed in roughly the area occupied by the driveway to Eastward House, north of which the rampart levels out though the ditch continues southwards as a partially visible feature along the western edge of the garden. In recent times, a fourth entrance has been cut through the rampart on the east side of the ringwork to allow access to the adjacent farmland. Two small-scale excavations were carried out north of Eastwood House by Richard Hodges in 1976 and 1977, the first immediately behind the house and the second through the rampart and into the ditch. The first revealed only that the archaeology in this area had been destroyed by the construction of a late 19th century annexe to the present house. The second found that the rampart was revetted on its inside by a wall and that the ditch originally had a V-shaped profile but had been recut prior to its finally silting up. A sherd of green-glazed Brackenfield pot in the upper ditch silts indicated that the silting process was well advanced by the 14th century. Documentary evidence for the ringwork is slight and relates more to the manor of Hathersage and to the church rather than to the monument itself. The present church dates to 1381 but was preceded by a smaller church built in the late 12th century. This was preceded by a Norman church which may have been the foundation of Ralph fitzHubert who held the manor of Hathersage after the Norman Conquest. It would have been fitzHubert or one of his immediate successors who built the adjacent ringwork. Furthermore, it is likely that the church occupied a bailey or outer enclosure which would have contained various ancillary buildings in addition to stables and corrals for stock and horses. Although the buried remains of these features will survive, they are not included in the scheduling as both the church and churchyard are in current ecclesiastical use. (Scheduling Report)

Ringworks were medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later twelfth century. The presence of the Camp Green Ringwork suggests that there is likely to have been some form of settlement in or close to Hathersage in Anglo-Saxon times. Buxton (2005) suggests that the ringwork may have originated in the ninth century, although it may be early Norman in date (Barnatt and Smith, 2004). A stone cross in the churchyard of St. Michael's Church is thought to be Saxon (Buxton, 2005). (Hathersage Conservation Area Appraisal)

Can be little doubt this is a Norman ringwork, in a classic position by the parish church but likely to be a rebuilding of an earlier pre-Conquest manorial centre (probably one with a slight bank and ditch). The name Danes Camp probably represents folklore.
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:47

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