ANCIENT DEFENSIVE EARTHWORKS markable earthworks of the moated mount and court type. While many of the ancient earth forts of Warwickshire are now so worn away as to be easily passed over by the ordinary visitor, these remains, owing to their striking dimensions and excellent state of preservation, at once attract the eye of the most casual observer ; indeed Brinklow is as fine an example of this particular description of earth fort as can be seen anywhere within the kingdom. The works occupy a strong position upon a short elevated ridge running from east to west, at the highest point, near its western ex- tremity. The great artificial mount is a most conspicuous landmark for many miles ; five elm trees grow upon its summit, which com- mands magnificent views all round. The entrenchments are placed right in the line of the ancient Fosse Way, which crosses the Avon at Bretford a couple of miles to the south, and then ascends the slope to- wards them. The road disappears temporarily however before it reaches the fortifications, and whether it originally continued its usually straight course and passed through the site of the works, which some have thought were erected to block it, or whether it passed round the hill to the west, is difficult to determine. The low ground to the north-east was formerly a great lake, which, according to Dugdale, once extended down the valley from the Fosse road ' even unto the skirts of Newbold Revel.' These very formidable looking remains consist in the first place of the typical mount or keep standing upon the highest point. To the west of this lies an inner court, defended by a rampart and ditch ; and beyond this again is a second and larger court similarly entrenched. The entire works cover an area of between 6 and 7 acres. The great mount itself is circular and conical in shape, and rises 40 feet above the level of the adjoining ground and 60 feet from the bottom of its exca- vated fosse ; its diameter is 260 feet at base, and its top is flat and measures 50 feet across. The ditch which surrounds it is well preserved, and is 20 feet deep and 40 feet broad. The two adjacent courtyards with their defences are on slightly lower ground ; they are enclosed by a great ditch, which branches off laterally from that which surrounds the mount. On the inner side of the ditch there is a rampart, from 30 to 50 feet broad at its base and from 10 to 20 feet high above the in- terior of the court, its broadest and highest parts being at the corners. The two courtyards are separated from one another by a second rampart with ditch, which runs across between them and at 125 to 150 feet distance from the fosse which encircles the mount. These dividing earthworks are smaller than those which enclose the united courts. The inner court is a long irregular oblong in shape, and the outer one forms a triangle. About 250 yards to the south of the main fort there are remnants of yet a further rampart and ditch, the latter filled with water for some 200 yards of its length ; these defences very probably enclosed a third and much larger court. Salmon, one hundred and seventy-five years ago, describes the remains as a large camp of 25 acres in extent, i 361 46
Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/423
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