Ancient Monuments

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Enclosed settlement, 620m south east of Cornhill Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Cornhill-on-Tweed, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.6552 / 55°39'18"N

Longitude: -2.2241 / 2°13'26"W

OS Eastings: 385996.979105

OS Northings: 640213.092119

OS Grid: NT859402

Mapcode National: GBR D3X1.9L

Mapcode Global: WH9Z0.T33Y

Entry Name: Enclosed settlement, 620m south east of Cornhill Castle

Scheduled Date: 25 April 1980

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006409

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 625

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Cornhill-on-Tweed

Built-Up Area: Cornhill on Tweed

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Cornhill St Helen

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the buried remains of a multi-phase enclosed settlement of Iron Age/Romano-British date, situated on a north east to south west ridge overlooking the River Tweed. The enclosure is visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs and includes at least three separate phases. The first and largest phase of the settlement is visible as an oval enclosure measuring approximately 160m by 105m, within two ditches which are spaced 3m to 8m apart. Within the western side of this enclosure, aerial photographs reveal the remains of a second enclosure (NT8593 4017) which is considered to represent a second phase of settlement; this enclosure is sub-circular in shape and has a diameter of about 47m, surrounded by a single ditch. Within its interior, there is a circular depression which is interpreted as the remains of a round house. A third, square-shaped enclosure (NT8598 4019) is attached to the eastern side of the sub-circular enclosure and measures 45m by 45m within at least one ditch with an entrance about 7m wide through its south side. This enclosure represents the third phase of settlement. Analysis of aerial photographs suggests that the three phases of enclosure were inhabited sequentially. The form of all three phases of enclosure is consistent with others elsewhere dated to the Iron Age to Romano-British period.

PastScape Monument No:- 1401
NMR:- NT84SE41
Northumberland HER:- 982

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the Iron Age 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 levelled, the multi-phase enclosed settlement south east of Cornhill Castle retain significant archaeological deposits within the buried features including the ditches. The presence of three closely related phases and the sequence of settlement which they represent, provides insight into settlement and economy during the Iron Age and the Romano-British period. This monument will contribute to our knowledge of the variety and character of wider prehistoric and Romano-British settlement in the region.

Source: Historic England

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