Ancient Monuments

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Defended settlement, 507m north west of Pawston Lake

A Scheduled Monument in Kilham, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5801 / 55°34'48"N

Longitude: -2.2385 / 2°14'18"W

OS Eastings: 385058.542166

OS Northings: 631849.759767

OS Grid: NT850318

Mapcode National: GBR D3TX.5J

Mapcode Global: WH9ZD.L07K

Entry Name: Defended settlement, 507m north west of Pawston Lake

Scheduled Date: 9 April 1951

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006527

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 257

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kilham

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date, situated near the summit of Pawston Hill and overlooking Bowmont Water to the west and Pawston Lake to the south east. The settlement survives as an enclosure measuring approximately 85m by 75m within three ramparts and two ditches. The inner and middle ramparts are separated by a ditch and stand to a maximum height of 0.8m, and the outer rampart stands to a maximum height of 1.5m with an outer ditch measuring up to 1m deep. Both the outer rampart and ditch are discontinuous and it is considered that this hillfort may have been unfinished. There is an entrance to the interior of the enclosure on the east side. A series of low parallel banks within the enclosure are of uncertain nature but are thought to be later cultivation remains. The drystone wall which crosses the hillfort is excluded from the monument, although the ground beneath it is included.

PastScape Monument No:- 1238
NMR:- NT83SE23
Northumberland HER:- 868

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.
Despite later cultivation, the defended settlement 507m north west of Pawston Lake is well-preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits relating to its use and abandonment, and environmental deposits relating to the use of the surrounding landscape. It is unusual in having a series of breaks in its outer rampart and ditch, which suggests that the construction of its outer defences may not have been completed.

Source: Historic England

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