Langport – the 22nd burh to be cited in the Burghal Hidage
|Type of Burh
|No. of Hides
|O.S. Grid Ref
“The existence of a Saxon Burh at Langport is documented in the Chronicles (a) and evidence of a mint is supplied by coins. Nothing definite is now visible but a broad bank at ST.42192695 is thought by Dr. Ralegh Radford to probably represent part of the defences. The crest of the hill upon which the eastern and medieval borough was constructed may indicate the perimeter of the burh though this is conjectural. Warre’s plan of earthworks seems somewhat fanciful and cannot be corroborated with ground evidence and how much if any part of his plan indicated Civil War earthworks cannot be determined. Surveyed at 1/2500.
Excavation at ST 42052666 showed that this area of hill top was unlikely to have been defended as a Burh, and was also unlikely to have been occupied in the Saxon period. No Saxon pottery and less than ten sherds of later medieval types were found.
Langport was probably a town as well as a fort. By c 930, there was a mint there which produced coins until the C 11. Domesday Book stated that the town had 34 burgesses. Throughout the Saxon period it was a Royal possession and was probably the outlying defence and trading centre for the extensive Royal estate based at Somerton.
The earliest reference to fortification is in the Burghal Hideage, ca.914×919 AD where the 600 hides allocated to it correspond with 2475 feet of defences. The site is usually considered to be on the crest of the hill centred on the church, but the natural scarps and an earthen bank have not been tested.”
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