Castle Hill is a scheduled ancient monument in Almondbury overlooking Huddersfield in the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, West Yorkshire, England. The hilltop has been settled for at least 4,000 years.The scheduled monument comprises the remains of a late-Bronze Age or early Iron Age univallate hillfort with a single raised bank, a later Iron Age multivallate hillfort, a 12th-century motte and bailey castle and the site of a deserted medieval village. The grade II listed Victoria Tower on the summit of Castle Hill is by far the most conspicuous landmark in Huddersfield. The hill has been a place of recreation for hundreds of years and the easily discernible remains of past occupation have made it a subject for legend, speculation and scientific study. It is located on UK Maps at grid reference .
The hill owes its shape to an outlying cap of hard Grenoside sandstone that has protected the softer stone beneath from erosion. The slopes below Castle Hill are formed from alternating deposits of shale and harder sandstones and form a series of slopes and benches.Five coal seams lie within the shales of the lower slopes some of which have been worked along the hillside, by adits and shafts. Workings are visible in several places and there is also evidence of old quarries that have been infilled.
The first people to visit Castle Hill were probably hunters and gatherers of the Mesolithic age, camping amongst the forests which at that time covered the land. In the Neolithic and Bronze Age, there appears to have been widespread travel or trade along the river valleys connecting the Yorkshire Wolds, the Peak District and the Mersey and Ribble estuaries. This is shown by various characteristic types of stone and bronze tools in a place far from their points of origin. The hillfort was constructed in the early Iron Age, around 555 BC taking up the whole hilltop. Modifications were made around 43 AD to improve the defences, probably in response to the threat from the Roman invaders.
Excavations on part of the hillfort in 1970 demonstrated that Castle Hill had at some stage suffered from a severe episode of burning. Vitrified forts such as Castle Hill are rarely found in England, and are more usual in Scotland.
The banks and ditches that remain are more likely to be the result of recutting and other alterations carried out during the Middle Ages, and modified by centuries of erosion. After the Norman Conquest of 1066, Almondbury became part of the Honour of Pontefract, which was held by the de Laci family. They established a small castle on the hill. It is mentioned in a charter of King Stephen to Henry de Laci of about 1142 to 1154. Archaeological excavation has provided a wooden stake, radiocarbon-dated to the late 1140s, and a coin of about 1160. It can be assumed that the castle was complete and occupied by the 1140s.
In the early 14th century there was an attempt to found a settlement in the lower bailey, and possibly elsewhere on the hill. Aerial photography revealed a central roadway flanked by regularly laid-out plots. It was probably abandoned by the 1340s, although memory of it may have lingered, since the map of Almondbury drawn up in 1634 marks the hill as the site of a town. After the end of the Middle Ages, Castle Hill remained uninhabited until the early 19th century. Its prominent position made it an ideal site for a warning beacon, as part of a network of such beacons on other prominent hills all over the country, spreading out in lines from the coast.
Castle Hill's flat top was a venue for large political, religious and other meetings. Chartist rallies were held at least four times, in 1843 and 1848. During the great weavers’ strike of 1883 a rally of between two and three thousand people braved bitter weather to listen to speeches by union leaders. A tavern to cater for pleasure-seekers was built on the hill in about 1810–11. A bowling green was formerly situated to the south of it. Other pursuits recorded there included bare-knuckled prize fights, dogfights and cockfights.
The Thandi Partnership bought the public house on land leased from Kirklees Borough Council and applied for planning permission to renovate it. After breaching planning conditions,the pub was demolished. Subsequent plans to rebuild it have been rejected.
An anti-aircraft battery was built near the south-east end of the hill and a range finder is located at the north side of the outer bailey, the remains of which may be seen, and pieces of high-explosive shell casings are occasionally picked up in the adjacent fields.
Today the hill retains the remnants of all its past uses, and is a popular site for local people and tourists. Overhead electricity cables were relocated below ground in 2006 to enable kite users to make use of the hilltop winds.
By 1897 Queen Victoria had reigned over the British Empire for sixty years, longer than any other monarch. A permanent memorial of this event was planned in the form of a tower perched on the hill overlooking the town of Huddersfield. Despite some difficulty raising the money required, the tower was opened by the Earl of Scarborough on 24 June 1899. Although often referred to as the Jubilee Tower, the correct name is the Victoria Tower. Designed by Isaac Jones of London, it was built by the firm of Ben Graham and Sons of Folly Hall, using stone from Crosland Hill. It cost £3,298, and was 106 feet (32.3 m) high, which, added to the height of the hill itself, made the top 1,000 feet (305 m) above sea level.
During the Second World War it was suggested that the tower should be demolished to prevent it from being used as a navigation aid by German bombers. A few bombs were dropped near the tower in 1940 and 1941, but were probably just randomly jettisoned.
The tower is a Grade II-designated Listed Building.
Huddersfield is a large market and university town in West Yorkshire, England. It is the 11th largest town in the United Kingdom, with a population of 162,949 at the 2011 census. It lies 14 miles (23 km) southwest of Leeds and 24 miles (39 km) northeast of Manchester.
A hillfort is a type of earthworks used as a fortified refuge or defended settlement, located to exploit a rise in elevation for defensive advantage. They are typically European and of the Bronze and Iron Ages. Some were used in the post-Roman period. The fortification usually follows the contours of a hill, consisting of one or more lines of earthworks, with stockades or defensive walls, and external ditches. Hillforts developed in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, roughly the start of the first millennium BC, and were used in many Celtic areas of central and western Europe until the Roman conquest.
Old Oswestry is a large early Iron Age hill fort in the Welsh Marches near Oswestry in north west Shropshire. The earthworks, which remain one of the best preserved hill forts in the UK, have been described as "The Stonehenge of the Iron Age Period". After the hill fort was abandoned, it was incorporated into Wat's Dyke by the Mercians during the Early Medieval period.
Uffington Castle is an early Iron Age univallate hillfort in Oxfordshire, England. It covers about 32,000 square metres and is surrounded by two earth banks separated by a ditch with an entrance in the western end. A second entrance in the eastern end was apparently blocked up a few centuries after it was built. The original defensive ditch was V-shaped with a small box rampart in front and a larger one behind it. Timber posts stood on the ramparts. Later the ditch was deepened and the extra material dumped on top of the ramparts to increase their size. A parapet wall of sarsen stones lined the top of the innermost rampart. It is very close to the Uffington White Horse on White Horse Hill.
A Monument Class Description provides a synthesis and summary of the archaeological evidence for a particular type of British ancient monument. The Monument Class Descriptions were created by English Heritage as part of the Monuments Protection Programme.
Farnley Tyas is a small village in West Yorkshire, England 3 miles (4.8 km) south east of Huddersfield. It is located on a hilltop between Almondbury, Castle Hill, Thurstonland and Honley. It is mostly rural and farmland with private housing and some local authority social housing.
Berry Brow is a semi-rural village in West Yorkshire, England, situated about 2 miles (3 km) south of Huddersfield. It lies on the eastern bank of the Holme Valley and partially straddles the A616 road to Honley and Penistone.
Prideaux Castle is a multivallate Iron Age hillfort situated atop a 133 m (435 ft) high conical hill near the southern boundary of the parish of Luxulyan, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is also sometimes referred to as Prideaux Warren, Prideaux War-Ring, or Prideaux Hillfort. The site is a scheduled monument and so protected from unauthorised works by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.
Almondbury Community School is a 3–16 mixed all-through community school in Almondbury, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England.
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Croft Ambrey is a British Iron Age hill fort in northern Herefordshire, 10 kilometres (6 mi) north of Leominster close to the present day county border with South Shropshire.
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Bincknoll Castle, or Bincknoll Camp, is the site of a possible Iron Age univallate hillfort located in Wiltshire. The site lies on the end of a triangular promontory on the escarpment beneath the Ridgeway to the South. The steeply contoured sides offer excellent natural defences with only the level lands to the south offering easy access. The suggestion that the site originates in the Iron Age is currently unproven. Pottery found on site has been Roman or later in date. Geophysical fieldwork is planned in the near future,(date?) hopefully that will inform the debate about the castle's chronology. Pronounced ‘Bynol’ Castle, the current earthworks appear to demonstrate a Norman motte and bailey castle of considerable natural strength. It is likely that Gilbert of Breteuil, after the Norman conquest, acquired a block of manors centred on Broad Hinton and built the castle to oversee them. The 'motte', now severely mutilated by later quarrying, measures approximately 52 metres in diameter by 3 metres high, and its ditch is 2.3 metres deep. The inner enclosure has a bank and ditch 3.4 metres high dividing it from the outer enclosure, with a causeway entrance. The earthworks of the now deserted hamlet of Bincknoll, which grew up outside the castle, may be discerned in Bincknoll Dip, sloping away to the north.
Hillforts in Britain refers to the various hillforts within the island of Great Britain. Although the earliest such constructs fitting this description come from the Neolithic British Isles, with a few also dating to later Bronze Age Britain, British hillforts were primarily constructed during the British Iron Age. Some of these were apparently abandoned in the southern areas that were a part of Roman Britain, although at the same time, those areas of northern Britain that remained free from Roman occupation saw an increase in their construction. Some hillforts were reused in the Early Middle Ages, and in some rarer cases, into the Later Medieval period as well. By the early modern period, these had essentially all been abandoned, with many being excavated by archaeologists in the nineteenth century onward.
Grovely Castle is the site of an Iron Age univallate hill fort in the Parish of Steeple Langford, in Wiltshire. The remaining ramparts stand approximately 3.2 m (10 ft) high, with 1.5 m (4.9 ft) deep ditches, although ploughing has damaged the earthworks in some parts of the site. Excavations have uncovered the remains of five human skeletons within the ramparts. Entrances are located in the southwest and northeast corners of the hillfort. A circular enclosure of 35 to 40 m is evident in aerial photographs of the hillfort interior. There is also a later bank and ditch which runs through the hill-fort from south-west to north-east, and is probably part of an extensive surrounding Celtic field system.
Cornish promontory forts, commonly known in Cornwall as cliff castles, are coastal equivalents of the hill forts and Cornish "rounds" found on Cornish hilltops and slopes. Similar coastal forts are found on the north–west European seaboard, in Normandy, Brittany and around the coastlines of the British Isles, especially in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Many are known in southwest England, particularly in Cornwall and its neighbouring county, Devon. Two have been identified immediately west of Cornwall, in the Isles of Scilly.
Berry Ring is an Iron Age hillfort in Staffordshire, England, lying some two miles southwest of the county town of Stafford, a mile to the southwest of Stafford Castle and only half a mile to the west of the M6 motorway. It consists today of an oval field situated on a hilltop surrounded by a hedge and ditches, a farm and a few houses.
Caesar's Camp is an Iron Age hill fort straddling the border of the counties of Surrey and Hampshire in southern England. The fort straddles the borough of Waverley in Surrey and the borough of Rushmoor and the district of Hart, both in Hampshire. Caesar's Camp is a Scheduled Ancient Monument with a list entry identification number of 1007895. It lies approximately 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) north of the town of Farnham, and a similar distance west of Aldershot. The hillfort lies entirely within the Bourley and Long Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest. Caesar's Camp is a multivallate hillfort, a fort with multiple defensive rings, occupying an irregular promontory, with an entrance on the south side. The site has been much disturbed by military activity, especially at the southeast corner. The remains of the hillfort are considered to be of national importance.
William (Bill) Jones Varley, FSA was a British geographer and archaeologist, particularly known for his excavations of English Iron Age hillforts, including Maiden Castle and Eddisbury hillfort in Cheshire, Old Oswestry hillfort in Shropshire, and Castle Hill in West Yorkshire. He was also a pioneer of geographical research and education in colonial Ghana where he worked in 1947–56, and was involved in historical conservation there.