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Castleward Fort

Period: Iron Age

NGR Easting: 237090

NGR Northing: 478260

Description: Fortified site. The site is focussed on a small, steep-sided hillock standing isolated in the bottom of a valley. The location itself is naturally defensible, but is overlooked by rising ground immediately to the west and from across the valley to the east. The site has never been excavated, and the only survey is that conducted by the Ordnance Survey in 1867.

The summit of the hillock is flat and more or less circular, and is protected by an earth and stone bank, with signs of a stone wall lining the inner face. The space is approximately 14m in diameter, and the bank is up to 1.4m high and 1.5m wide. To the north of the summit is a smaller enclosure which narrows to a terrace on the east side of the hillock; a gap in the summit bank on the eastern side forms an entranceway leading onto the terrace and down to a lower enclosure. The lower enclosure flanks the hillock on its east and north sides, and is defined by a bank of varying strength, in some places no more than a weak field bank, in others up to 1.4m high with an accompanying ditch.

Several samples of stone have been collected in the belief that they show signs of vitrification, but are not thought to be conclusive. Various utilised stones have also been found, though none in the Manx Museum collections are particularly diagnostic.

The place-name Knoc y Troddan (‘hill of contest’) has been attached to the site, although its antiquity is not clear. The surrounding field has also been known as Magher y Caggey (‘field of the battle’), though its origins are similarly vague. The site has at various times been interpreted as a Viking stronghold, a motte and bailey, an Iron Age citadel, and even a Cromwellian fort. With the exception of the latter it is difficult, in the absence of any excavation, to dismiss entirely any one of these suggestions.

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Site & Monument Type: fort

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: 0688.00