Alfred's Castle

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Alfred's Castle


Alfred's Castle, Oxfordshire, aerial view from North.jpg
Aerial view of Alfred's Castle
Type: Hill fort
Grid reference: SU277822
Location: 51°32’17"N, 1°36’7"W
Built Bronze / Iron Ages

Alfred's Castle is a small Iron Age hill fort behind Ashdown Park in the parish of Ashbury in Berkshire.

The site is a mile and a half south of the Ridgeway long-distance route and is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.[1]

The fort has a large enclosure attached that shows as a cropmark. Excavation has shown this to be contemporary with the small enclosure, started in the 6th century BC. The hill fort was established within a series of late Bronze Age linear ditches and revealed much evidence for occupation within it. In the late 1st century, a Romano-British farmhouse was built within the abandoned prehistoric enclosure.

In the year 871, King Alfred the Great won a great victory against the Danes at the Battle of Ashdown; locally it is said that battlefield lies just to the west of Ashdown House. With this connection, Victorian antiquaries associated Alfred's Castle with the King's troop movements before the battle. The exact site of Alfred's battle has not yet been determined, however, so is a matter for debate. The most likely sites are near Compton and Aldworth.

Excavations were carried out at Alfred's Castle from 1998-2000 by archaeologists from Oxford University. A final analysis was published in 2014.


Further reading