Croft Ambrey

Aymestrey, Hereford & Worcester


NGRef: SO444668
OSMap: LR137/148/149
Sitetype: IAf

Iron-Age Hillfort

This triangular fort started as a settlement in c1050BC, with sheer slopes to N and a small rampart and ditch to S and W. There were rows of 4-post buildings inside, possibly granaries. Later extended in c460BC to 3.6ha with a massive rampart and 2 gates at SW and E, both with guard-chambers. Huts were rebuilt, and stood in rows along streets. Archaeological evidence of extensive grain production and stockrearing (mostly sheep), and weaving. An annexe of 4.8ha was probably an animal corral. Occupation seems to have ended c48AD. A village of small, closely-set rectangular buildings dotted the interior, and excavation suggests continuous occupation from c6th century BC to 48AD. Started as enclosure of 2.2ha, increased in c390BC to 3.6ha. 20 successive sets of gates built at SW and W entrances. Some huts rebuilt 6 times.

"Croft Ambry, hill-fort (SO/444668) 6½ miles SW of Ludlow (A49, A4117), 2¼ miles NE of Mortimer's Cross, 1 mile E of A4110 and Yatton. Finds in Hereford and Birmingham City Museums. This hill-fort, triangular in plan and its defences covering a total area of 32 acres, is protected along the N by a steep slope. It has been extensively excavated, 1960-6. The earliest fort occupied the level plateau of 5½ acres at the highest point of the hill. Its rampart has gone but its ditch is the great half-filled hollow lying within the innermost visible rampart. On this plateau rows of rectangular wooden timber buildings have been found, dating perhaps from the later 6th century BC. Entrances were at the E and W ends and at least 5 peroiods of construction are recorded. The fort was enlarged to 8¾ acres by a massive reconstruction of its defences about 390 BC. These comprised the present innermost rampart with its 2 outer banks separated by 2 ditches. The original E entrance was remodelled and the W entrance mayhave continued as a postern : a new SW gate was added and here 15 periods of construction have been uncovered. Both incorporated guard chambers and metalled roadways. The plateau within and especially the innermost ditch (of the 1st hillfort) were used for intensive occupation until the Roman Conquest (hereabouts, 49AD), including wooden granaries and storage pits. The many burnt huts found suggest a final destruction, perhaps by the Romans. There was much pottery (imported from the Malverns) and excellent metalwork. Finally, the 2 outermosts banks and ditches forming a lightly-defended annexe of 12 acres, with entrances E and SW were added at an unknown period. It contains a mound of the late 2nd century AD, perhaps the site of a sanctuary."
GtPE, p.148