Cadbury-Congresbury Hill Fort

Iron Age Hillfort

Cadbury Hill Fort is situated on top of Cadbury Hill just outside of Yatton, in Somerset.  It is an Iron Age hillfort and Early Medieval defensive enclosure. In archaeological circles the hill fort is known as Cadbury-Congresbury in order to differentiate it from the Cadbury Castle hillfort in South Cadbury.

It appears to have been constructed in the Iron Age when one or more ramparts, with walls and ditches, were built on the steep slopes of the hill to defend an area covering some eight and a half acres. The remains of Iron Age round houses may still be seen inside. The hill fort was refortified around 400 and occupation extended into the sub-Roman period, from which much imported pottery has been recovered. There are two small enclosures at the top of the hill, beside the eastern entrance, which have been interpreted as ‘guard houses’, reinforcing the defences of the fort.

It has been suggested that this was the monastery of Saint Congar after whom Congresbury was named.

It has often been said that the hill fort has only one rampart (univallate), but anyone who has climbed up or down the hill on the eastern side will know that there are a series of impressive ditches and banks defending the approach from that side.

Excavation took place between 1968 and 1973, and was published in 1992 Mediterranean imports were found with 173 A-ware and 547 B-ware sherds and around 48 glass vessels. These suggest that the hill was the site of an elite settlement.

It has been suggested that this hill fort was the capital, or ‘oppidum’, of the local king, Arviragus, that same Celtic ruler who allowed Joseph of Arimathea and his followers to settle in Glastonbury.


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