An Iron Age Hillfort Overlooking Stanton
Shenberrow (or Shenbarrow) Hillfort
Even today the outline of an ancient hillfort, or camp, can be seen at the top of Shenberrow Hill, to the south-east of Stanton and the site takes in the area where Shenberrow Farm now stands.
Scheduled Ancient Monument
This Scheduled Ancient Monument, previously designated as SAM GC56, is listed by Historic England (formerly English Heritage) under listing number 1004867.
The site dates from the British Iron Age (700BCE - 43CE) although minor excavations have produced evidence to suggest the site may have been occupied earlier during the Bronze Age (2400BCE - 700BCE).
Historic England refers to it as "Shenbarrow Hillfort".
The farm was probably built between 1779 and 1881 (based upon records and maps from that period) and it seems from later maps that the farm was subsequently developed and extended along the camp's boundary line.
Location and Size
Perched on the edge of the plateau 150m above Stanton and to the village's south-east, the site covers approximately 2.5 acres, making it smaller than most other camps that typically lined the western edge of the Cotswolds during the same period.
There are numerous nearby quarries (disused) with several other prehistoric sites within a few kilometers. These include a Bronze Age round barrow (aka 'tumulus' pl. 'tumuli' or 'burial mound') to the north-east and two Neolithic/Bronze Age bowl barrows (Stanway Bowl Barrows) to the south.
Also, there are several listed sites at, or near, Hailes Abbey a few kilometers to the south and a bowl barrow near to Cutsdean to the south-east.
Layout and Design
The hillfort was roughly D shaped with the flat of the D exploiting the natural steep edge of the western scarp, and had well developed bivalate (twin bank and ditch) defences. It measures approximately 165m x 150m (540ft x 480ft) and its inner defences comprised a 9m wide rampart with a depth of 1.2m. This rampart finishes where it meets the west facing sloping edge of the scarp at its northern and southern ends. There is a 6m wide, 0.9m high bank that runs parallel to the scarp edge, linking the ends of the ramparts.
The outer defences remain intact and undisturbed on the northern side where the rampart is 7.6m wide and 0.6m high with a corresponding ditch, 7.6m wide and 0.9m deep.
Further around, the rampart disappears completely and is only visible in crop marks. In the south eastern side the farm buildings have been built over the original line of the defences and the rampart line disappears into woodland.
In the north corner of the inner defences there is an 18m x 15m enclosure that is bounded by a narrow bank.
Partial excavations in 1935 revealed dry-stone wall revetments to the inside face of the inner rampart on the southern side.
There are currently three entrances to the site although the one to the south, which cuts through the rampart, is probably the only one that is original.
The combe (a short valley) to the north-west leading into present-day Stanton, coupled with a natural dip to the south-west (shown on OS maps as 'Camp Hollow') would have enabled good defensive views across the Vale of Evesham towards the Malvern Hills and beyond.
Today, there is not much evidence of the camp's south-western outer ramparts although the inner ditch and rampart on the north-east (Broadway) side have been well preserved by large trees, which will have protected them over the centuries from damage, especially by the plough.
The building of Shenberrow Farm and the subsequent ploughing of fields to the south-east of the site have largely destroyed tangible evidence of the ramparts and ditches on that side. However, their outline can still be seen in crop marks and are also clearly visible on Google Maps and similar using "terrain" or "satellite" views.