Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Defended settlement on White Hill, 700m south east of Kimmerston

A Scheduled Monument in Ford, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.6112 / 55°36'40"N

Longitude: -2.0609 / 2°3'39"W

OS Eastings: 396260.886643

OS Northings: 635292.183635

OS Grid: NT962352

Mapcode National: GBR G31K.MC

Mapcode Global: WH9Z9.97V6

Entry Name: Defended settlement on White Hill, 700m south east of Kimmerston

Scheduled Date: 7 January 1980

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006408

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 624

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Ford

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Ford And Etal

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the buried remains of an Iron Age multivallate defended settlement situated on a spur on the western flank of White Hill. The settlement, which is visible on aerial photographs as a cropmark, is perfectly circular in plan enclosing an area of 0.4ha. It is surrounded by three ditches which are spaced between 10m to 15m apart.

PastScape Monument No:- 3624
NMR:- NT93NE19
Northumberland HER:- 1961

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate), others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD). Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national importance.
Despite the fact that it has been subject to cultivation, the defended settlement on White Hill retains significant archaeological deposits within the buried features such as pits and ditches. This settlement will provide insight into the construction, use and abandonment of the monument and will add to our knowledge and understanding of settlement and subsistence during the Iron Age.

Source: Historic England

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