Ancient Monuments

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Enclosure on Old Fawdon Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Alnham, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4211 / 55°25'15"N

Longitude: -1.9658 / 1°57'56"W

OS Eastings: 402264.26895

OS Northings: 614131.154633

OS Grid: NU022141

Mapcode National: GBR G5QR.6H

Mapcode Global: WHB09.S03F

Entry Name: Enclosure on Old Fawdon Hill

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1934

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006543

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 188

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Alnham

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Ingram St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


Old Fawdon Hill prehistoric defended settlement, 1030m south west of Castle Knowe.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 May 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date, occupying the summit of Old Fawdon Hill and overlooking Fawdon Burn to the east and Mere Burn to the south with ground sloping away steeply on all sides. The enclosure is 190m north east-south west and 150m north west-south east. It is surrounded by an intermittent rampart which follows the 300m contour of Old Fawdon Hill and is preserved as a low earthwork with a maximum height of 0.7m externally and 0.4m internally. There is a 90m break in the rampart on the north west side where the slope is steepest. Behind the ramparts are a series of quarry scoops. Within the interior of the enclosure are at least 61 hut circles some preserved as low ring-banks and others being circular depressions. The hut circles vary in diameter from 4m to 12m with most being between 5m and 6.5m. A 15m long groove within the interior is understood to be the remains of an earlier palisade.

The date and location of the enclosure makes it an obvious candidate for a hillfort, however, the rampart is discontinuous and comparatively slight. Hence it is more accurately defined as a defended settlement.

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, 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.

Old Fawdon Hill defended settlement represents a good example of an important monument type with extensive occupation evidence within its interior. The value of the monument is increased by its proximity to a number of important later prehistoric sites including Castle Knowe multivallate hillfort to the north east and the rich prehistoric landscape of Ingram Farm to the north west. The monument will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment and environmental deposits relating to the use of the surrounding landscape.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:- 5351

Source: Historic England

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