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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 409
Date assigned Wednesday, April 29, 1998
Date last amended


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh Marches, central and southern England. In view of the rarity of slight univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance. Borough Hill hillfort is a rare and well preserved example of this type of monument in Derbyshire. Despite some degradation from medieval cultivation the site obviously retains important archaeological evidence relating to the Iron Age occupation of the site. Taken as a whole Borough Hill hillfort will significantly improve our understanding of Iron Age communities in the area and their command of the wider landscape. DETAILS The monument includes the earthworks and below ground remains of a slight univallate hillfort on Borough Hill. The monument is situated approximately 230m south west of Old Hall Cottages on a flat, naturally raised terrace above the River Trent which flows along the west side of the monument. The position of the site was carefully selected so that the steep, natural slopes to the north, south and west could be incorporated into the hillfort's construction, providing it with natural defences. The monument affords commanding views of the broad river flood plain to the south, west and north and the gently rising land to the east. The topological situation, method of construction and strength of defences indicate the monument is Iron Age in date. The monument is ovoid in shape, measuring up to 375m in length and 150m in width and is defined on the eastern side by a sunken road (Catton Road). Internally the monument is divided into two distinct areas by a steep slope which runs most of the way across the width of the site. The northern section, which constitutes approximately one third of the monument, is set about 1m lower than that to the south and appears to have been artificially terraced. Material removed during this process was probably used to enhance the dividing bank, providing greater protection for the southern part of the hillfort. The defences of the southern part of the monument are further enhanced by low banks constructed along the top edge of the natural slope on the western and southern sides. The outer circuit of the monument is broken by two entrances, one to the east and another to the south. The eastern entrance, which gives access to the lower, northern section of the hillfort is complex and takes the form of a sunken corridor which extends approximately 50m into the hillfort and survives to a depth of about 1m. An `L'-shaped terrace sits up to 0.5m above the southern bank of the corridor and runs parallel to it before turning 90 degrees to run south along the eastern edge of the monument. The terrace, which follows a slight incline, has been truncated by modern farm cottages but appears to have led into the main southern section of the hillfort. This entrance would have been clearly visible from the higher southern part of the monument where anyone entering the fort could be closely monitored. The southern entrance provides access from the river flood plain, at the base of the natural slope into the southernmost part of the monument. The entrance, which is relatively simple in construction, survives as a slight terrace cut into a natural break in the slope. At its northern end the terrace joins the defensive bank running around the south and east of the monument. Faint traces of medieval ridge and furrow (cultivation strips) are visible over most of the interior of the hillfort, making it difficult to recognise earlier features. There is, however, evidence that the southern part of the hillfort was divided into at least three sections. These are marked by two slopes which run east to west across the monument and survive to a height of approximately 0.2m. Each slope marks an increase in the height of ground level creating three terraces, the highest of which is at the southern end of the monument. The first slope crosses the site about 80m north of the southern entrance. At its western end it joins with the defensive bank and curves round to the south. A break in the defensive bank marks the point at which it joins. The eastern end of the slope has been truncated by modern farm buildings. The second slope extends about 60m across the site approximately 160m north of the southern entrance. This has been levelled at its western end by medieval cultivation and has been truncated at its eastern end by farm buildings. Human remains have been recovered from the southernmost section of the hillfort during the construction of modern farm buildings. All modern fences, gates, drainage pipes, animal feeding troughs, and metalled surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all of these features is included.

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1998. Scheduling Notification: Slight univallate hillfort 230m south west of Old Hall Cottages. List entry no. 1017742. SM Cat. No. 409.



Grid reference Centred SK 2101 1747 (244m by 373m)
Map sheet SK21NW

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Sep 26 2013 10:28AM

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