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Cadbury Hill (Congresbury)



Cadbury Hill fort - AKA CadCong

The fort on Cadbury Hill was built about two and a half thousand years ago. It went out of use during the Roman occupation of Britain, but was subsequently resettled during the Dark Ages.

Cadbury Hill was probably occupied by members of the Dobunni tribe. Gradually they developed their hill settlement into a fortified camp by constructing a multiple ditch and rampart system of earthwork defences topped by a stone wall rampart.

Cadbury Congressbury is one of five like-named Iron Age forts in the Southwest area. The name is Anglo Saxon and means 'Cadda's Camp'

Recent excavations not only uncovered its Iron Age beginnings but also important facts about its subsequent history. Despite the Celts fierce will to resist, their hillforts were a poor defence against the highly trained Roman legions. Thus, Cadbury Hill, like most others was abandoned during the Roman occupation (AD 43-410). Nevertheless, under a stable Roman administration the Congressbury region experienced a flourishing growth in population, settlements and land use. Recent fieldwork in Congressbury parish uncovered evidence of a large number of lowland settlements dating from this period, including a group of kilns which manufacture large amounts of a distinctive grey pottery. Their products can be found widely distributed in the region.

To the North of the hill in Henly woods a pagan Roman temple was built. After it fell into ruin in the fifth century, local people who had presumably been converted to Christianity, were buried at the site over earlier pagan graves

Unlike most other hillforts, Cadbury Congresbury, also referred to as CadCong, gained a new lease of life in the Dark Age with large scale reoccupation between AD 410-700. Evidence of several rectangular as well as circular buildings has been found. judging by the number of people that nay have been living here, cadbury was a Dark Age settlement of some importance.

An intriging find from this period was the foundations of a very large circular hut. It seems to have had a ritual purpose of some kind, but it is now known if this was Christian or pagan.

Dark Age settlement of the site was confirmed by the discovery of amphorae (large ceramic wine jars) still being imported from the Mediterranean lands despite the breakdown of the Roman empire.

The nearby settlement of Congressbury was founded in the Saxon era by St Congar, a Celtic holy man from Cornwall.

According to legend St Congar plunged his staff into the ground where upon it took root. To this day there is an ancient yew tree in the churchyard known as 'St Congar's walking stick'. Such a miracle persuaded Ine, the Saxon king of wessex to grant land used for a monastery.

Cadbury Hill is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Posted by vulcan
4th May 2003ce
Edited 5th May 2003ce

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