Ancient Monuments

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The Ringses multivallate hillfort, Doddington Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Doddington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.589 / 55°35'20"N

Longitude: -1.9801 / 1°58'48"W

OS Eastings: 401354.201261

OS Northings: 632818.68348

OS Grid: NU013328

Mapcode National: GBR G3MT.3B

Mapcode Global: WH9ZB.KSB8

Entry Name: The Ringses multivallate hillfort, Doddington Moor

Scheduled Date: 28 November 1932

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006585

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 92

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Doddington

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Doddington St Mary and St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


This monument includes a multivallate hillfort of Iron Age date, situated towards the summit of a hill on Doddington Moor. The hillfort is sited on a rise at the edge of a steep escarpment to the west with more gradual slopes on the three remaining sides. The monument is an irregular oval-shaped enclosure surrounded by three ramparts with a fourth outer bank on the west and a slight outer ditch with traces of a counterscarp bank to the south. The earthworks enclose an area of approximately 0.3ha. The innermost bank is between 3m to 5m wide with a maximum height of 0.6m. Within the innermost bank there is a smaller stony bank, which probably represents the foundations of a wall and is of a later date. The middle bank is 6m to 8m wide and with an average height of 1.5m. The outer bank is of similar width and varies in height from 0.6m to 2.5m. Both of the outer banks are at their highest to the west where their height is exaggerated by the natural scarp. The two outer banks are not fully concentric with accommodations for wide spaces to the north and south. These spaces have a series of banks within them and represent areas for stock management. An additional fourth outer rampart exists on the west side and is 5m wide with a height of 0.3m internally and 2.0m externally. The main entrance to the monument is to the south east where a passage is formed by two transverse banks between the central and outer ramparts.
There are at least five hut circles within the hillfort varying in diameter from 3.5m to 10m, some of which have traces of dividing walls as low earthworks and two of which are linked by a low wall. Comparisons with other sites suggest these hut circles are Romano-British.
A boundary wall on the east side of the monument is excluded from the scheduling; although the ground beneath it is included.

PastScape Monument No:- 6307
NMR:- NU03SW23
Northumberland HER:- 3800

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.
The Ringses is a well-preserved example of a small multivallate hillfort. The monument will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment and environmental information relating to the use of the surrounding landscape. The group of hut circles, thought to represent the use of the hillfort in the Romano-British period, contributes to the importance of the monument by demonstrating the extended use of the site.

Source: Historic England

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