Herefordshire Beacon, Colwall

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Ringwork), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NameHerefordshire Beacon, Colwall
Alternative NamesThe Citadel; British Camp
Historic CountryHerefordshire
Modern AuthorityHerefordshire
1974 AuthorityHereford and Worcester
Civil ParishColwall

A well preserved and spectacular Iron Age hillfort of two or more phases with over 100 possible hut circles. The hillfort originally covered at area of approximately 8 acres. The site was apparently reused as the site of a medieval ringwork, possibly in a further two phases, and grew to an area of around 32 acres in size. The site is also known as British Camp. (PastScape)

A rock-cut ditch, ovoid plan surrounds a disturbed platform with a possible minute attenuated bailey to the east. Interior is a platforme which slopes markedly from SE to NW. Substantial rampart on E and S sides, slight to the N and on the W it is absent. Within the bailey are remains of a rectangular building 4m by 10m. Two mounds either side of the path nearby have no sign, possibly are natural but the E mound appears to be part of a bank across the ride that suggests they are artificial. There are two main theories – that the castle was built during the anarchy, when King Steven and the Angevins were fighting in Gloucestershire, and fortifications burnt at Tewkesbury and Winchcombe. The more plausible theory is that the castle could be classed with the other early Norman hill castles, or possibly be early pre Norman. (Herefordshire SMR ref. Bowden, 2000)

Gatehouse Comments

Paul Martin Remfry suggest that Harold Godwinson may have built a castle here. Ringwork & bailey, probably a large stone shell keep, as there are definite signs of a stone gateway on the bailey & stone all over the site. Although some medieval pottery has been found along with dressed stonework, previous excavations have confused the record.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSO759400
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Bob Embleton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Bob Embleton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.

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  • Bowden, M., 2000, British Camp or Herefordshire Beacon (English Heritage Investigation Report. English Heritage)