Shropshire History  

Iron Age



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The period of history from 800 BC to 43 AD is usually referred to as the Iron Age. This is because the primary material for tools and weapons was iron. It could be produced in primitive smelters and cast in moulds.



Shropshire was occupied by a Celtic tribe called the Cornovii, who were there both before and after the Roman occupation.  The use of iron as a metal made weapons and tools much more efficient.  Iron ore was plentiful locally and most villages would have had primitive smelting facilities.


It was a period when hill forts were built and occupied on top of hills around the county.  Despite this, many communities began to live on lower lying land near rivers,  particularly along the Severn Valley between Montford Bridge and Buildwas. All were near a hill fort so in times of danger they could take their families, cattle and possessions into the fort for protection. Prior to the arrival of the Romans, the tribal capital was at the Wrekin hillfort.


Many villages kept herds of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs for meat and skins.  The woodlands were cleared to make fields for growing oats, wheat, barley, rye, peas, beans, onions and cabbage.  The people lived in what are now called roundhouses.  These were built with upright timber posts, interwoven with coppiced wood that was covered with clay, soil, manure and straw to make it warm and waterproof. The roof was thatched. In the centre of the roundhouse was an open fire, which would have been used for cooking, heating and light, with the smoke escaping through a hole in the roof.




Discovering Shropshire’s History


Iron Age Pottery


Round Houses


The Cornovii





Gazetteer of Sites


Acton Burnell

SJ52150230 - double ditched sub-oval enclosure.

SJ54380239 - double ditched sub-rectangular enclosure with a possible single ditched annexe.



SJ523113 - sub-rectangular enclosure. Now partly destroyed by a road development.

SJ525109 - rectangular enclosure at Longner Hall with a single ditch, 70m north-east to south-west by 55m transversely, widening south-westwards. An entrance gap 15m wide is midway in the north-east side.

SJ531092 - double-ditched enclosure and associated field system, consisting of a number of rectangular enclosures of varying sizes.

SJ53901114 - homestead site.

SJ544103 - single-ditched sub-rectangular enclosure and field system in Attingham Park. The enclosure measures 40m east-west by 48m and has an entrance in the south side. An associated field system to the south-west covers an area 200m by 170m, the fields being of varying sizes but small.

SJ54551075 - single ditched rectangular enclosure.



SO653992 – iron age settlement at a place locally called Barrister’s Plain. Ridge and furrow present.



SJ42171995 - single-ditched enclosure with a southern entrance.

SJ42651977 - single-ditched sub-circular enclosure with a south-facing entrance.

SJ42921984 - single-ditched D-shaped enclosure with a possible southern entrance.


Bayston Hill


Archaeologists working at a quarry in Shropshire have found a road dated to the first century BC


SJ492090 - metalled and cambered road, created to take heavy traffic, suggesting a thriving trade route. The road, which is 1.5m high and 6m wide, includes brushwood, a deep clay foundation and cobbles taken from the river Severn. Radio carbon dating of the brushwood and sediment found in the road showed it was built in several phases, the latest of which was the century before the Roman invasion of AD 43. The route could have connected the Wrekin, thought to be the capital of the Cornovian tribe, to the Ordovices further west. It could also suggest that farm produce was being moved from the Midlands into Wales, with perhaps minerals being transported the other way. Evidence of animal dung and dung beetles has also been found, indicating that before construction of the road it had been used in more ancient times as a livestock droveway.



SO35367594 - small enclosed settlement on Bedstone Hill called Castle Ditches. The enclosure is quadrangular and contains a number of well-defined building platforms. Earthworks within the interior have been reduced by ploughing and a road truncates the north east corner.



SJ45831449 - rectangular single ditched enclosure of possible Iron Age or Roman date

SJ45981456 - single ditched rectangular enclosure.


Bicton Heath

SJ45351234 - enclosure.


Bishop’s Castle

SO30378884 - double-ditched sub-rectangular enclosure.

SO30518971 - double concentric rectangular enclosure.

SO30678734 - homestead enclosure.



SO48357765 - enclosure later re-used as Anglo-Saxon cemetery.



SO351748 - settlement.



SO25969918 - farmstead with enclosure, hut circle, trackway and field boundaries.

SO26029962 - farmstead with enclosure, ditch and hut circles.

SO25259720 - enclosure.

SO26119650 - small enclosed settlement situated to the west of the Camlad valley, measuring 130m east-west by 170m north-south. The south and west sides have a well preserved ditch with a small inner bank.


Church Stretton

SO42629274 - univallate cross-dyke surviving as an earthwork. It is aligned north-north-east to south-south-west and can be traced for 170m across a col between two hilltops

SO43979420 - bivallate cross-dyke surviving as an earthwork.

SO44329685 - cross-ridge dyke surviving as an earthwork.  Two sub-circular walled features partly overlie it and are probably huts or animal shelters.

SO44639586 - D-shaped enclosure, probably for stock, surviving as an earthwork on a narrow steep-side spur.



SO77259274 - small roughly trapezoidal single ditched enclosure.

SO77319151 - part of a rotary quern.

SO77739038 - large double ditched rectilinear settlement enclosure.



SO249826 – settlement comprising an enclosure with banks, ditch and domestic artefacts.

SO29007853 - homestead comprising a single circular bank and ditch surviving as an earthwork.

SO301787 - enclosure and homestead.

SO30478410 - settlement comprising a sub-oval bank and ditch enclosure, partly destroyed by forestry road.

SO32048175 - U-shaped earthwork with strong stone-built ramparts and outer ditch and bank.



SO354820 - stone spindle whorl.

SO35958338 - rectangular pastoral enclosure, defined by a single ditch.  It is slightly irregular, having two convex, one straight and one concave side, with angled corners. The enclosure is complete apart from being cut by a modern field boundary in its southern quarter and has a simple terminally defined entrance in its northern side.



SJ43063110 - oak log boat found in peat. The boat survived to its full length, although damage had been inflicted by the growth of a birch tree through the boat before excavation. It measured 3.35m long and had a maximum width of 0.73m and was estimated to be able to hold 412kg of deadweight. The boat is now in Shrewsbury Museum.



SJ46960491 - single ditched rectangular pastoral enclosure.

SJ49450767 - single-ditched roughly rectangular enclosure with an annexe.

SJ49810766 - single-ditched sub-circular enclosure.

SJ507032 - single-ditched rectangular enclosure with an outer ditch forming a possible annexe. Within the enclosure are two ring ditches, possibly hut circles.



SJ53550350 - single ditched rectangular enclosure.

SJ55500654 - small trapezoidal enclosure and linear cropmarks.

SJ55950339 - single ditched sub rectangular enclosure.



SJ573034 - rectangular enclosure and linear marks, probably representing the positions of drainage channels.

SJ576034 - rectangular enclosure.

SJ576041 - single ditched rectangular enclosure.

SJ58520465 - single ditched rectangular pastoral enclosure.



SO49158139 - settlement consisting of an enclosure and a ring ditch (a possible hut).

SO49128121 - single ditched enclosure.



SO72759100 - double ditched rectangular enclosure and trackway.



SO53129068 - hilltop enclosure, probably representing a settlement.



SO40128689 - enclosed farmstead called Castle Ring, surviving as an earthwork.



SJ45603174 - D shaped enclosure at Lyneal Wood, measuring 75m by 90m. The ditch on the south-west side was 3m wide and 0.5m deep but the site has now been ploughed out.



SJ45221081 - two enclosures.

SJ45571004 - single ditched sub circular enclosure.

SJ46841021 - rectangular enclosure.


Great Ness

SJ371193 - two rectangular enclosures, one of which is double-ditched.

SJ39871950 - double-ditched oval enclosure and a possible rectilinear enclosure.



SJ59890175 - single ditched rectangular enclosure and an annexe.


Hopton Castle

SO36897768 - rectangular enclosure, probably a settlement.

SO37657873 - probable homestead consisting of a small ring ditch and two parallel linear features.



SJ354203 - double-ditched sub-rectangular enclosure.



SO481979 - farmstead consisting of enclosure, hut circles and pits.


Llanfair Waterdine

SO2476 - stone spindle-whorl

SO26377807 - small pentagonal enclosure, probably a homestead, with single bank and ditch surviving as an earthwork.



SJ22442274 - curvilinear enclosure.



SJ26972110 - multi-ditched enclosure.



SJ46850865 - enclosure and  hut foundations.



SO525753 - rectangular enclosure.


Lydbury North

SO38138437 - trapezoidal/rectangular single ditched pastoral enclosure.

SO3874087765 - sub-circular earthwork enclosure formed by low banks 9-10m in width and averaging 0.4m in height.

SO3888387920 - nucleated settlement consisting of lyncheted fields, trackways and enclosures. A possible extension of the field system is visible to the east.



SO32279272 - small unfinished oval enclosure at the Roveries, surviving as an earthwork. Possibly a detached settlement, annexe or precursor of the hillfort to the south-east.



SO25688619 - small enclosed settlement. The north-eastern side of the site is defined by a bank, while the north-western and south-western sides are enclosed by two banks separated by a ditch. The defences on the south-western and south-eastern sides have been modified by later cultivation which has reduced the height of the banks and infilled the ditch. The original entrance into the settlement was through the middle of the south-eastern side. A number of building platforms are visible within the interior.

SO2759986726 - small enclosed settlement in Knuck Wood. The enclosure is sub-rectangular in plan, measuring approximately 70m south-west to north-east by 105m north-west to south-east. It is defined by an earth and stone bank which, in the northern side, survives to a maximum height of 1.7m. On the south and south-western sides it varies in height from 1.5m to 2.4m. On the western side the bank has been cut by a road. The bank is bounded by an external ditch which survives as a slight earthwork between 3m and 4m wide on the south and south-west sides. The exact location of the entrance is not certain but is thought to be at the western end of the northern side.

SO28678936 - settlement of five hut circles.

SO28888940 - farmstead enclosures.



SJ267023 - small enclosed settlement situated on the summit of a ridge overlooking the northern side of the Rea Brook valley. It measures 90m north-west to south-east by 240m south-west to north-east. It was enclosed by multivallate defences.

SJ293028 – log boat found on the edge of Marton Pool 2.59m in length, although the boat was not in complete condition. The end is rounded, as is the general section of the boat, and it is hollowed from oak. The boat was last known to have been on display in Shrewsbury Museum and a similar find was made nearby.

SJ29620306 - lake village on earthwork mound by Marton Pool.



SJ32251308 - large triple-ditched sub rectangular enclosure.



SJ41791760 - single ditched sub-rectangular enclosure with an entrance to the south.

SJ419177 - partially double-ditched sub-rectangular enclosure.

SJ42131757 - single-ditched rectangular enclosure.

SJ42351890 - double-ditched rectangular enclosure with a possibly associated pit alignment.


Moreton Corbet

SJ53892706 – enclosure.



SO51208777 - single ditched enclosure with an annexe on the west side.



SO 400921 - rotary quern.



SO241850 - field boundary lying east of the enclosed settlement known as Caer-Din Ring. The boundary comprises a bank and external ditch and is known to extend for a distance of roughly 450m. There is an original break in the boundary towards its southern end, where there is a causeway across the ditch and a corresponding gap in the bank. This break lies immediately opposite the original entrance into the enclosed settlement and a hollow way links the two. The position of the field boundary and the existence of the hollow way suggest that the settlement and the boundary are contemporary.

SO24028242 - small enclosed settlement situated east of the summit of Castle Idris. The settlement comprises a D-shaped enclosure, defined by a bank and external ditch, both modified by ploughing over the years. Within the enclosure are a number of building platforms.

SO24998266 - small enclosed settlement, surviving as an earthwork. It comprises a sub-rectangular enclosure defined by a bank, external ditch and outer (counterscarp) bank. A larger bank runs along the north western side of the enclosure and appears to be later in date as it overlies the original, smaller bank on this side. Finds of spindle whorls and flint scrapers have been reported from the site.



SJ30452873 - two enclosures, one sub-rectangular in shape, the other D-shaped.

SJ31462608 - single ditched rectangular enclosures.

SJ31842571 - single ditched rectangular enclosure containing a possible hut circle.

SJ31412633 - trapezoidal pastoral enclosure

SJ33922719 - series of conjoined sub rectangular enclosures - possibly a field system.



SJ42991848 - three sides of a rectangular enclosure.

SJ47401457 - double ditched sub rectangular enclosure, a single ditched enclosure and a circular enclosure and probably associated field system.

SJ430183 - rectangular enclosure defined by two ditches.



SJ53140264 - two adjoining sub rectangular enclosures.



SJ39620788 - double-ditched roughly oval enclosure with south-east facing entrance.

SJ39730780 - double-ditched irregularly-shaped enclosure with a north-west facing entrance.

SJ44230870 - single ditched rectangular enclosure. Within the enclosure is a small circular feature, probably a hut circle.


Quatt Malvern

SO75189046 – single-ditched enclosure.

SO76588830 – settlement.



SO39589707 -  trackway appearing to run between Castle Ring Camp and Ratlinghope Hill Camp.



SJ35232519 - single ditched sub rectangular enclosure.

SJ36852151 - double-ditched enclosure and possible associated field boundaries.

SJ373238 - double-ditched, sub-circular enclosure

SJ37452359 - , double-ditched sub-circular enclosure.

SJ367218 - broad-ditched rectangular enclosure with an east-facing entrance.



SJ7602 - two cinerary urns of coarse pottery, about 1m apart and 0.8m below the ground.



SJ2731 - sword, gouge and chisel found at Brogyntyn Park.



SJ58812120 - possible trackway and field system.



SO552919 - field system.

SO55239234 - single ditched sub-rectangular enclosure, possibly a homestead.

SO556931 - single-ditched enclosure, sub-rectangular in plan, measuring 108m by 136m. Much of the enclosure is now ploughed out.



SJ47291403 - two rectangular enclosures.

SJ49551021 - bivallate enclosed settlement consisting of an enclosure and a hut circle replaced by a rectangular building.

SJ508105 - univallate sub-square enclosure roughly 41m square on Sharpstones Hill. The main entrance, 1.6m wide, was situated on the east side, with a smaller causewayed entrance only 25m away at the north-east corner. A circular, trench built hut, 9m in diameter, and other structures were found within the enclosure.

SJ513109 - banjo-style enclosure and associated trackway. The trackway is now partly destroyed by a housing development.



SJ78521005 – three sides of a rectilinear ditched enclosure.



SJ53611692 - square enclosure.


Upton Magna

SJ545129 - double-ditched enclosure.

SJ552115 - field system comprising a series of ditches, tracks and fields.

SJ55551341 - double-ditched pentagonal enclosure with possibly associated boundary.

SJ57021233 - single-ditched five sided enclosure with an east-facing entrance.


West Felton

SJ358271 - lower half of a roughly cylindrical quern.



SJ30590714 - farmstead and enclosures.

SJ33111046 - homestead with an annexe or earlier phase ditch.

SJ356057 - concentric circular enclosure called Hem Ring the inner ring having a diameter of approximately 105m and the outer approximately 130m. There is also a possible entrance in both ditch circuits facing almost due south.

SJ390098 - curvilinear enclosure with north-west facing entrance.



SJ31463080 - double ditched oval pastoral enclosure.

SJ31663300 - rectangular pastoral enclosure and trackway

SJ33042906 - double ditched rectangular pastoral enclosure.

SJ35123073 - rectangular pastoral enclosure and annexe.

SJ35283106 - single ditched rectangular enclosure and a single ditched oval enclosure.

SJ353311 - pastoral enclosure and field system.

SJ35893035 - pastoral enclosure and field system.

SJ36043174 - small enclosed settlement at Spring Coppice. It is oval in plan, defined by a single ditch with an entrance on the south-west, measuring 65m by 90m. The site has now been ploughed out.



SJ578122 - two or three fragmentary rectangular enclosures.



SJ30050575 - small enclosed settlement and length of hollow way situated on the summit of a spur. The settlement is enclosed by two ramparts, each with an external ditch, and an outer bank. A series of cultivation ridges are visible within the enclosed area, overlying a number of building platforms cut into the sloping ground. The enclosure was originally entered from the east and adjacent to this entrance is a sizeable linear depression or hollow way. This feature partly cuts through the infilled outer ditch of the enclosure, runs round the lower slope of the spur and then continues northwards, past the settlement.

SJ30180702 - field boundaries, enclosures and pits.

SJ31490634 - farmstead with enclosures, hut circles and ditches.

SJ33010544 - enclosures and pits.

SJ33370340 - small enclosed settlement defined by a series of banks and roughly built walls. At the south-western end, the defences flanking the entrance consist of three banks separated by ditches and berms. To the north, quarrying has destroyed these earthworks but a second entrance is visible at the north western end of the enclosure



SJ55540760 - roughly rectangular enclosure and a possible trackway.

SJ55870816 – single-ditched  sub rectangular enclosure.

SJ5608 - number of gold-plated, silver and bronze Iron Age coins.

SJ562095 - two square enclosures 9m wide, possible Iron Age burials

SJ576096 - sub-rectangular enclosure.

SJ578089 - single-ditched sub-rectangular enclosure with a possible entrance on the west side. To the north are linear features which are probably drainage.

SJ593099 - ditched sub circular enclosure.