CADBURY CASTLE HILLFORT
Cadbury Castle in Somerset is among the great hillforts of south western England, the home of a large number of England's, and Britain's best hillforts.
Here is my bullet point checklist on this fort.
* It began as a Bronze Age site, and was expanded in the Iron Age.
* It was reused by the Romans to a small extent.
* It was reused after the Romans, by the Britons from around 470 AD to 580 AD.
* It even was used as the site of a Saxon Mint in the 11th Century.
* The site sits 5 miles north of Yeovil, right on the edge of the Somerset Levels, which in the Iron Age and other eras, contained lake Villages, the closest things England had to crannogs.
* It is 153 metres above sea level at it's highest point.
* The summit covers 7.28 hectares, and is relatively flat.
* The name Cadbury Castle, has the suffix Bury, which is from a Saxon term, Burgh, or Byrig, like a lot of hillforts. Even though the Saxons did not use almost all these hillforts themselves their word has been added as a element to their titles, That Saxon word itself, was a term used for both towns and forts, and most would think that they were referring to the site as a fort of the past in this case.. The first part of the name, may come from the names of nearby villages, and a river, the Cam. Like many old names where a later era added a term they were familiar with, then this potentially is another of those tautological words. As in when 2 different bits of the term are the same meaning, as in bury, and castle. Whether this is a mutation of the old Celtic term for the site, or a river or previous king is uncertain, but it seems even as far back as the 1080s Cadbiury was a term for parts of the area. As North Cadbury was a Norman barony in the Domesday book.
In 1397 it was recorded as Cadbury Castell, no not the Welsh term, just a different English olde spelling of castle.
* Very confusingly, all close by, (at least Maiden Castle's same named forts, are not that close by, to it) there are other Cadbury Castles, all smaller. With all given a similar reason for their name. (A other idea is the Cad bit came from a Saxon or British notable's names).
So just to reiterate, this page is about the largest Cadbury Castle in Britain, which sits actually on the far south eastern edge of the county.
So here I list the other examples I know of with a similar title.
Cadbury Camp, North Somerset, a 2.8 hectares Iron Age hillfort in North Somerset. On a hill also known as Cadbury Hill.
Cadbury Castle, Devon, a other Iron Age site, This one in Devon was used by the Roundhead's Thomas Fairfax in the 1640s civil war, as a camp area. It is by a place called Bickleigh, and not far from a village called Cadbury.
North Cadbury village in Somerset, is by the large hillfort this webpage is about, confusingly to me, not the other Cadbury label hillfort in the north of Somerset.
South Cadbury, Somerset, is also near the big South East Somerset site, indeed both these villages, North Cadbury and South Cadbury are close by each other.
Cadbury World, is a chocolate factory style experience in Birmingham, named for the Cadbury family member who founded it.
Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate is a tasty chocolate bar.
Cadbury chocolate is very popular among many consumers of sweets and hot chocolate as they make a huge variety of items. They were founded by a Quaker in 1824 called John Cadbury, Whose name you would think originated some way back in the mists of time, in the locations named after this hillfort.
* So back to the Cadbury Castle that this page is mainly about,
* The fort became a a more multi ramparts fort, in the 1st Century BC.
* Strong proof indicates the fort was captured by the Romans, by force. This is as there is evidence of a attack from 43 AD, when the Romans arrived in South Eastern Britain. The Durotriges and Dobunni, 2 county sized tribal confederations are the best candidates for defending this fort from the Romans. Some though say the attack can be dated to 70 AD, which would tie in with a less obvious battle. Maybe Romans v Romans, or Britons v Romans. The Romans indeed put a fort of their own on the site for a while.
* Remains of a Great hall, 20 by 10 metres in size, has been found at the site, from the post Roman era, the era of the Britons.
* The fort had many legends to do with King Arthur associated to it, and it was known as Camelot for a long time as well. John Leland noted this in the 16th Century.
* The thing is though, that it must have had a King Arthur style king, or chief there, so it seems pretty fair to say that. I mean in the sense, that it must have had a chief or king connected to it, in the Dark Ages, when Arthur in legend was about.
* Also many shards of East Mediterranean pottery, from the period after Rome had left Britain, have been found at the site. A sign there were some kind of trade links with the faraway eastern Roman Empire.
* Glastonbury sits only 12 or so miles away from Cadbury Castle. It was a important religious site in the West Britons Christian traditions in the Dark Ages. It is also of course associated in legend to King Arthur.
* Certainly it would have been a base for the West Britons, or Dumnonia, before their territories were taken by the Saxons.
* Last chocolate references. A statue of Mars was found on the site from the Roman era, coincidently a other big chocolate company name in the UK. Apparently also there is a Roundtree, so almost Rowentrees (another sweetie producing name in Britain , though I must evidence I have no evidence the garden centres are sweetie producers or not) Garden centre within a dozen miles of the site, in the early 21st Century some time anyhow, and a Cadbury Garden Centre. Last choc reference, the site lets itself nestle on the landscape. well maybe it does not really but it does in a way. There are other choc makers out there.
* A great Engraving of Cadbury Castle, was drawn in 1723 by the great antiquarian William Stukeley, that he labelled "Prospect of Camalet Castle", I put that picture on this website.