Books, Prehistory, The Ancient History of Wiltshire by Richard Colt Hoare Volume 1, Station 5 ITER IV

Station 5 ITER IV is in The Ancient History of Wiltshire by Richard Colt Hoare Volume 1.

Iter IV. Starting once more From my head quarters at Amesbury, I shall direct my course towards KNIGHTON LONG BARROW [Map], which, from its elevated situation on a high ridge of land, rivals, if not surpasses, ELL BARROW in preminence of prospect, The first object of our attention: near a clump of trees called ROBIN HOOD BALL [Map], is one those ancient circles, which I have before mentioned and described in the Heytesbury Station, p. 80, This, like the generality of them, is placed on an elevated and commanding situation, but has this peculiarity, of having one circle within the other, with an entrance towards the north. We have to regret the great injury these circles have sustained by the plough, as in their original state they must have been highly curious, and are the more remarkable, from representing a double circle.

On the north-west side of this work are some barrows, one of which had been opened before, but in exploring it our men turned out the fragments of burned bones and a singular whetstone. Lower down on the south are some other in one of which, was found a brass dart or arrow head. To the east is a long barrow. About a mile, to the south or Robin Hood Ball, and on Knighton down, we find the undoubted remains of another small British settlement, consisting or a square earthen work. Its eastern side is bounded by a bank and ditch, which taking a southern direction, intersect a Druid barrow one hundred and thirty-two feet in diameter; another proof of the prior antiquity of the tumulus.

Returning to the ridge, I continue my ride to another clump of trees called BLACK BALL; and it is interesting on this spot to remark the actual progress of for on every side, except the south-west, nature in creating woods and forests; we see an increasing growth of young fir-trees, raised from the cones of their parents which have been dispersed by the winds. Nothing interesting occurs between this spot, and Red Horn Turnpike, where the chalk hills terminate, and form the boundary of a rich vale that separates the northern and the southern districts of our county. Here I shall direct my course to the right, and follow the same ridge-way, which, in a Former Iter, I had ascended from JOAN A GORE'S CROSS, and had examined as far as this turnpike. The same interesting terrace, the same rich view of the vale beneath, still continue to charm the eye, and arrest the attention. A few tumuli mark an ancient population adjoining it. This elevated track way is still vulgarly called the PORT-WAY, and the RIDGE-WAY. One of the barrows on the left side of it was opened by Mr. CUNNINGTON, but he found no symptoms of interment, and only a broken glass bead: pottery and coins are frequently dug up in the neighbourhood. Continuing along the ridge, we traverse an old bank and ditch, which steers southerly towards the British village, described in my last Iter, and the verdure of the whole adjoining downs seems to indicate the ancient residence of the Britons on these hills, though could see no decided marks of any village. A little further, on the brow of a hill projecting towards the vale, are the vestiges of either an unfinished or a mutilated camp, called BROADBURY.1

Proceeding a little further, I quit the ridgeway, and direct my course towards CASTERLEY CAMP [Map]. This earthen work bears the strongest marks of originality, and none of the modern signs of innovation. I consider it as a British town, but not so populous as either of those already noticed at STOCKTON and GROVELY. Here we find no deep or multiplied ramparts, but a simple ditch and vallum of no great elevation, enclosing an area of above sixty acres. The richness of its soil having induced the owner to devote it to tillage, many of the original works and excavations have been defaced, but we still in D. and E. recognize the works of the Britons; the former in its irregularity resembling others before noticed at STOCKTON and GROVELLY: the other, E., by having the ditch within the vallum, denoting probably a place appropriated to religious purposes. Many passages have been made through these works for the accommodation Of waggons; it is therefore difficult to state the original entrances: I rather doubt if C. was one, but can speak, I think, confidently respecting A. and B., though we do not: usually find two entrances so near to each other, and it would be reasonable to suppose there had been another entrance or exit at the northern end, where there are signs of some outworks, &c. The line of ramparts is most perfect and regular on the east side. On the south side, we may observe a bank and ditch issuing from the camp, which runs over the down, and bends towards the vale of Avon. The area of this camp contains above sixty-four acres; the circuit of the outer ditch is one mile and a quarter, and the depth of the vallum is twenty-eight feet. On the west side also, are the signs of another bank and ditch.

Note 1. We often meet with the names of Bodbury, and Badbury, evidently derived from the British word bod, a dwelling but in digging in the area of camp, Mr. Cunningtons could not find any pottery, or other signs of residence.

This camp [Map] from its elevation commands a very distant view; and upon minute investigation, will be found to be one of the most originat and unaltered works of the British æra, which our county, amidst numerous antiquities of a similar nature, can produce.

On returning from CASTERLEY CAMP [Map] to my head quarters at Amesbury, I pursue a direct line to that conspicuous Knighton long barrow: and find but little in that tract to arrest the attention of the antiquary. On a piece of down to the south of Clarke's Penning, there is a large barrow, and near it an old bank and ditch with a few excavations; also a cluster of small tumuli, on the declivity of a hill. The barrows on Durrington down, over which our road leads us, having been already described, I shall now conclude my account of this Station, reserving for a future Iter the numerous antiquities which are situated in the southern district of Amesbury.