The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological
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Ysgyryd (Skirrid) Fawr hillfort
Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 01497g Trust : Glamorgan Gwent Community : Llantilio Pertholey Unitary authority : Monmouthshire NGR : SO33111827 Site Type (preferred type first) : Iron Age Hillfort Status : Scheduled Monument
Summary : A double enclosed area identified on the bleak ridge of Ysgyryd Fawr, from a private aerial photograph taken in 2000. Earthworks interpreted as a possible Iron Age hillfort or as a religious enclosure.
Description : A double enclosed area identified on the bleak ridge of Ysgyryd (Skirrid) Fawr hillfort, from a private aerial photograph taken in 2000. Earthworks interpreted as a possible Iron Age hillfort or as a religious enclosure. Site contains the medieval chapel of St Michael (01473g). (01)
Early interpretation of this site has suggested a small enclosure, with the Scheduled remains of the medieval chapel dedicated to St Michael perched on the highest point of this long narrow ridge. Inspection of APs and a site visit has indicated that this site has much more to it. The first and innermost enclosure noted on OS cards may be IA in origin, but may also be related to the later chapel, the earthworks of the latter taking up much of the internal space of the former and making interpretation of this first inner enclosure less clear. This enclosure is almost kidney-shaped, with the rectangular depression of the chapel remains and a second more circular earthwork sitting within its interior. A second sub-rectangular enclosure sits concentrically around the first. At its greatest distance on the summit of the ridge it is at a distance of 50-60m south of the first enclosure, however as it curves around the slopes of the north eastern end of Skirrid Fawr this distance lessens to between 30-40m. On the western side the defences sits precariously on the edge of the large quarry which has subsumed much of the north-western side of Skirrid Fawr including some of this western defence. A third enclosure can be traced enclosing the previous two enclosures. At its greatest distance on the summit ridge this third defence lies at a distance of about 100m south of the second enclosure. As this enclosure curves round the mountain side this distance lessens until the enclosure joins with the southern defences of the second enclosure. The second and third enclosures can clearly be seen as earthworks, and it is possible a fourth enclosure lies within these, of the same shape, however this has been discerned only from the AP and not from a field visit. A full topographic survey of this entire area would certainly shed more light onto the exact nature of these earthworks. A possible house platform can be seen immediately outside of the first enclosure, and further house platforms and a small quarried area exist just within the bounds of the third enclosure. It is not possible to date these satisfactorily without further investigation. A much larger, longer length of rampart can clearly be seen from aerial photographs to continue along the entire western edge of the mountain, beginning in the north at the quarry (presumably this continued further north originally), and following the contour of Skirrid Fawr until the mountains most southern point has been reached. This rampart is about 1m wide with the outer bank standing in places up to 0.5m high. The banks of the second and third enclosures also stand at about 0.5m high and have a width of approximately 1m each. (Wiggins 2006)