Ancient Monuments

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Defended settlement, 360m north east of Pike House

A Scheduled Monument in Hesleyhurst, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.2912 / 55°17'28"N

Longitude: -1.8806 / 1°52'50"W

OS Eastings: 407679.336189

OS Northings: 599679.136427

OS Grid: NZ076996

Mapcode National: GBR H798.N2

Mapcode Global: WHC22.28RK

Entry Name: Defended settlement, 360m north east of Pike House

Scheduled Date: 23 January 1968

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006477

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 430

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Hesleyhurst

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a defended settlement of Iron Age date, situated on a north easterly projecting spur with extensive views to the east and south. The sub-oval enclosure measures approximately 75m WNW to ESE by 58m transversely. Surrounding the enclosure are the remains of a double bank of earth and stone with a medial ditch. The outer bank is visible on the east and south sides as an intermittent low earthwork while the inner bank is more substantial. The earthworks are interrupted by entrances on the east side and the north side, the former being inturned.

PastScape Monument No:- 21255
NMR:- NZ09NE20
Northumberland HER:- 10754

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the earlier Iron Age (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.
The defended settlement 360m NNE of Pike House is reasonably well-preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment, and environmental deposits related to the nature and use of the surrounding landscape. Taken together with further prehistoric remains situated to the west, it will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the character of Iron Age settlement and subsistence.

Source: Historic England

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