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Littledean Camp

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Little Dean Camp; Old Castle of Dene

In the civil parish of Littledean.
In the historic county of Gloucestershire.
Modern Authority of Gloucestershire.
1974 county of Gloucestershire.
Medieval County of Gloucestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO67661349
Latitude 51.81910° Longitude -2.47057°

Littledean Camp has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The Norman ring-work known as Littledean Camp was excavated by Dr C Scott-Garrett and the Forest of Dean Local History Society in 1958. A rough floor of sandstone pitching was found in the interior, and an isolated part of the surounding bank to the west of the entrance was thought to have formed the base for a wooden watch-tower. The paucity of finds, which included an iron key dated to the late 11th or early 12th century and pottery of the first half of the 12th century, suggested a short period of occupation, and the site was taken to be that of the "Old Castle of Dene" mentioned in charters of Henry II (Renn: Scott-Garett).
A ring motte, consisting of a strong circular bank of stone and earth, and an outer ditch. The interior, which is slightly above the natural ground level, shows no trace of any structure and is grass covered. The earthwork is approximately 70.0m in overall diameter. The bank averages 2.3m high measured from the interior, and is from 4.0m to 5.0m high measured from the bottom of the ditch. The ditch averages 10.0m wide at the top and is from 0.7m to 2.0m deep.
In the south-east quadrant there is a 4.0m wide gap in the ban and a causeway 9.0m wide at the bottom and 4.0m wide at the top, across the ditch. The earthwork is grass and tree covered and is in good condition. Slight mutilation in the northeast quadrant of the ditch is the result of earth digging. The motte is situated upon a hill-top with a commanding view of the Severn Valley (F1 NVQ 08-APR-58). (PastScape)

May be the 'old castle of Dene' mentioned in 1153-4, although this has also been identified as Stow Green, Newnham or, most probably, the Iron Age hill fort of Welshbury.
Now isolated from settlement. However village nucleation in this area may have been quite late and the site may represent a dispersed settlement site from before the consolidation of settlement in the valley below the hill. This, along with Davidson's theory on the late date of the introduction of mottes, may well support a C11 date for this site.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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