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Site record MDR5613 - Circular Earthworks, Bellington Hill, Elvaston

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Circular earthwork circa 10m in diameter reported from cleared woodland to north of Bellington Barn. (1) Series of six circular, slightly banked circles. All have roughly the same proportions, but are smaller than stated by (1). All show a more or less continuous depression or series of depressions immediately inside the bank - as if ditched. They occur as a group of four in the north of the field and two more in the south. They are undoubtedly not products of activity in the immediate past, but there are perhaps indications of recent disturbance (nettle patches). The farmer thinks they may be charcoal burning sites, or in some way connected to the previous (undated) exploitation of gypsum in the north-east of the field. As this was part of a woodland estate for the past 200 years, at least, they may relate to quite early extractive activities. (2) In May 2003 the Archaeological Research Group of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society began the work of trying to identify and date these earthworks. Sanderson's map of 1835 shows a small copse at the north-east end of the field. By 1881 the whole field had become a Fox Covert which, by 1913, had been extended into the adjoining field north-west, and given the name Bellington Wood. By 1966 the covert had become overgrown, at which point the father of the present farmer cleared the land and reseeded it for use as pasture. It was then that the rings became evident. The four main circles are all between 9.5m and 10m in diameter and consist of a shallow outer ditch with depressions, an inner circle of depressions and a central depression. Two further circles, some 50m away, run under parked caravans. A trench was excavated across one of the circles but results were disappointing. Geophysical work indicated that the earthworks were constructed on top of ridge and furrow, assumed to be medieval, and abraded pottery of Romano-British, medieval and post-medieval date was recovered. The identity and purpose of the structure could not be defined by excavation, therefore, due to lack of evidence. Similarly it was not possible to closely date its construction. From the sparse finds associated with the structure and the plough soil into which it was inserted, a date somewhere between mid 17th century and mid 20th century AD is appropriate. (3)

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Brandon, A (British Geological Survey). Report from Alan Brandon, British Geological Survey.
  • <2> Personal Observation: Myers, A. Site visit or other evidence. Site visit, 9/8/94.
  • <3> Article in serial: Butler, M, Palfreyman, A, Salisbury C & Tinkler, P. 2005. 'An investigation into circular features found on Bellington Hill, Thulston', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol 125, pp 59-71, figs, plate.



Grid reference Centred SK 42349 31515 (189m by 183m) Approximate

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR1853
  • EDR1854
  • EDR333

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Apr 30 2024 9:10PM

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