Castle Hill

A History of Huddersfield

Castle Hill

P1000561Dominating the town of Huddersfield is the Victoria Tower, built to commemorate the diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 on top of a hill near Almondbury and intended to be 1,000 feet above sea level at the top of the tower. From many places including parts of the town centre, this Glastonbury of the North dominates the skyline. The Queen was amused enough to allow her name to be used for the tower.

The history of Huddersfield’s most iconic landmark goes back a lot further than that. In fact it was believed to have been settled 5,000 years ago – the site has never been fully investigated, and there is clear evidence of occupation 4,000 years ago. Evidence from tools, axe and arrow heads, found on the site show there were links into the Peak district to the south and also to the Mersey and Ribble estuaries to the west. The whole hilltop was fortified around 555 BC and modified in 45 AD, possibly against Roman invaders, though the known invasion was in 79 AD.

P1000557The fort itself was wooden, and nothing remains of that, but the hill sides would have consisted of a couple of ditches and the sides covered in smooth stone.  The ditch running through the site is not from this time, but from a medieval castle from the time of King Stephen.

But back to the original site, who would want to live on an isolated hilltop in a Yorkshire winter? The people were Brigantes, which translates as Hill People. Nothing much is known about the Brigantes,as they wrote little down, but there was a town at Slack, later to become the Roman camp Cambodunum, and as well as fighting the Romans they had a culture, a theatrical mask has also been unearthed.

Castle Hill is a very important site, one of the the top five neolithic sites in the country, and the only one in the north of England.

 

 

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