Sudbrook Camp

Iron Age Hillfort

Sudbrook Camp comprises of the remains of a multivallate hillfort, likely dating back to the Iron Age period (circa 800 BC – AD 74, the Roman conquest of Wales), and a ruined medieval Holy Trinity Church. The hillfort is situated on the shores of the Bristol Channel, with its southern boundary formed by a small sea cliff, and is protected by multiple ramparts to the north, east, and west. The inner rampart is the largest, standing at approximately 6m in height and forming an arc that encloses the interior of the fort, which is now used as a football pitch. On the northeast side of the fort, the outer ramparts have been partially destroyed by housing, but on the northwest side, two further banks separated by ditches are still visible, with an outer ditch mostly lying beneath the fence surrounding the adjacent paper mill. The outer bank reaches a maximum height of around 2.5m, while the middle bank is about 1m in height. The ditches are approximately 3m wide and up to 0.8m deep, and the entrance to the fort is located on the northeast side. In the 1930s, Nash-Williams conducted an investigation of the site and discovered remains of the northeast ramparts with V-shaped ditches in between. He also identified that the main inner rampart had been constructed in four phases and had revetment walls on the inner edge. Quarry ditches were also identified inside the bank on the northwest side. Artifacts found at the site suggest that it was occupied from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD, with tentative evidence indicating that the Roman army may have held the fort around AD 50, possibly to guard the strategic crossing of the River Severn.

The remains of the Holy Trinity Church consist of the lower walls of a nave, chancel, and an added south porch, constructed of large, well-dressed blocks of local Sudbrook Triassic Sandstone. The highest remaining elements include the west wall of the nave with a fine trefoil lancet window, dating to the later 13th or 14th century, and a pointed chancel arch from around 1200 with a twin belfry above, much of which has collapsed due to a fire in 2016. The side walls and a simple late medieval outer arch of the porch also stand higher. However, the interior and external ground levels have been raised by dumping and landscaping, with the ground now reaching up to 1m above the medieval surfaces, and the stone porch benches are now level with the ground. Holy Trinity Church served the medieval hamlet or village of Sudbrook and is recorded as still being in use in 1560, but was reported as ‘decayed’ by 1755 and had become a chapelry of Portskewett. It stood in ruins by the early 19th century, with early drawings showing distinctive round-headed nave windows of 12th century character, which have since been lost.

Sites near Sudbrook Camp