Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/459

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ANCIENT DEFENSIVE EARTHWORKS The camp is roughly triangular in form, though actually its sides are five in number ; it encloses an area of about 9 acres. The defences, which are still formidable on the north side, consist primarily of a rampart, protected externally by a ditch ; beyond this again there are remnants in some places of a second rampart and ditch. There are further banks and trenches to be seen within the wood, which probably form outworks to the main fort. The height of the rampart at the northern apex of the camp is 12 feet with a breadth at its base of 27 feet ; the ditch defending it measures 32 feet across. Local antiquaries have invariably described these remains as Roman, without apparently any kind of proof for the assertion. 1 No antiquities of any kind are known to have been dug up here, to afford a clue either to the occupiers or the makers of the earthworks. As far as mere out- ward appearances go, the stronghold more or less resembles some of the works of class B u ; but the site requires exploration with the spade before any definite opinion as to age or origin can safely be expressed. TAMWORTH. The massive tower called the castle stands upon the earthwork keep of an ancient mount and court fort of class E. This fort again lies in the corner of what was once a rectangular entrenched area of considerable extent. The site of the mount and court stronghold is upon the right bank of the river Tame, just below the point where it is joined by its tribu- tary the Anker. It is within the county of Warwick, while half of the town of Tamworth, including a portion of the large rectangular entrenched area, is in Staffordshire. Entering the small modern park which now surrounds the mediaeval castle, we see the solid tower placed upon the top of a round hill. This hill is an earthen mount of artificial origin ; it measures about 250 feet in diameter at its base, and is about 50 feet in height ; it is conical in shape, with a truncated summit measuring nearly 100 feet across. On the east side of this mount is to be seen a portion of its ancient moat ; we are also reminded of the former existence of a similar excavation on the west side by the name of a street, the ' Hollow Way,' which occupies its former site. Ninety years ago the fosse around the mount was still almost perfect. A writer in T'be Gentleman's Magazine for 1813 describes the keep as then encircled by a deep ditch for two-thirds of its circum- ference on the landward side ; this fosse, he remarks, was ' probably always, as now, dry, being above the level of the river,' which defended it upon its remaining side.' Adjoining this moated mount on its south-east side, and about 1 5 feet above the water of the Tame, is a roughly triangular platform of earth, which is apparently more or less artificial ; its south bank, facing the river, is straight ; that on the east is at present concave, but was 1 Burgess in B'ham. and Mid. Inst. Arch. Trans. (1872), p. 83, and in Arch. Journ. vol. xxxiii. (1876), p. 375 ; Bloxam in B'ham. and Mid. Inst. Arch. Irani. (1875), p. 32 ; Turner's Sbaks. Land, p. 309. 3 Gents. Mag. (1813) pt. i. pp. 592-3. 397