Chirbury Town Defences

Has been described as a Possible Urban Defence

There are no visible remains

NameChirbury Town Defences
Alternative NamesCyricbyrig
Historic CountryShropshire
Modern AuthorityShropshire
1974 AuthorityShropshire
Civil ParishChirbury With Brompton

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the construction of a burh at Chirbury (Cyricbyrig) in 915. The ringwork west of Chirbury (PRN 00498) was formerly recorded on the SMR as the most likely site for the burh, but more recent material suggests that this is unlikely. A new record for the burh has therefore been created. Two possible point locations are marked on the SMR: at the ringwork (unlikely); and at the heart of the settlement itself (likely, but no attempt has been made at present to map the possible area of the burh). A note on the 1959 excavations at the ringwork site, interpreted by the excavator as the burh. Considered to be the fortress built by Aethelflaed in AD915 at Cyricbyrig. Excavation revealed a slight rampart of thrown up earth and stones: there was no sign of a palisade; a small ditch associated with it was apparently designed for drainage rather than for defence. Defensive arrangements had the appearance of being unfinished or, of never having been used. Examination of interior confirmed that it was never permanently occupied. No late Saxon/ early Medieval pottery found on site. No positive archaeological date for enclosure. Reasons given for assigning a C10 date to the fortress. The context for the creation of the burh at Chirbury was defence of the Mercian border not against the Welsh but against Viking attack during the Danish wars. The 1950s excavations (at the ringwork site) produced no evidence of a Saxon date and showed it was only lightly defended. Suggests that the burh was a much larger enclosure than the medieval ringwork, and was built around the village on an axis parallel with its roads. (Shropshire SMR)

Gatehouse Comments

C10 Saxon defences of uncertain form. Mentioned in Anglo-Saxon Chronicles 915AD. See also Chirbury King's Orchard which may well be the remains of these defences. Given map reference for parish church which may be within the large circuit now proposed for the burh.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSO261985
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  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 157 (mention)
  • Duckers, Peter and Anne, 2006, Castles of Shropshire (Stroud: Tempus) p. 58
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 266
  • Britnell, W. J., and Martin, C. H. R., 2000, Bro Trefaldwyn Historic Landscape: Historic Landscape Characterization (CPAT Report 356) p. 75
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 204
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 37 (incorrect) online copy


  • Wainwright, F.T., 1960 Feb, 'The Chirbury excavation (1958)' Shropshire Archaeological Society newsletter Vol. 10

Primary Sources

  • Ingram, James, (ed) 1912, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Everyman Press, London) AD915 view online transcription (Ingram's translation and notes date from 1823. More recent translations of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles should be consulted for serious study)


  • Britnell William, J. et al, 2000, Bro Trefaldwyn historic landscape: historic landscape characterisation (CPAT Report 356) p. 75 online copy