Ancient Monuments

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Multivallate defended settlement, 350m north-east of Wood House

A Scheduled Monument in Hedgeley, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4542 / 55°27'15"N

Longitude: -1.8544 / 1°51'15"W

OS Eastings: 409306.339116

OS Northings: 617822.777129

OS Grid: NU093178

Mapcode National: GBR H5HC.BN

Mapcode Global: WHC19.H55L

Entry Name: Multivallate defended settlement, 350m north-east of Wood House

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1949

Last Amended: 1 December 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007453

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21021

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Hedgeley

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Eglingham St Maurice

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date situated in a
good defensive position on the highest part of a hill with a precipitous drop
to the west. The roughly oval enclosure is 50m south-west to north-east within
triple ramparts of earth and stone. All three ramparts are very well preserved
but the inner is the strongest being 4-10m wide and standing to a height of
2m. The two outer ramparts form two annexes in which stock may have been held.
The ramparts are on average 4m wide and 1.2m high. There are entrances through
the ramparts in the north-west and in the south-east quadrants of the
settlement, both of which are lined by large stones. Within the enclosure
there are the stone foundations of one circular prehistoric house 8m in
diameter; other houses may survive but are obscured by dense vegetation cover.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the later prehistoric period (7th - 5th centuries BC) a variety of
different types of defensive settlements were 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.
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

The defended settlement north-east of Wood House is very well preserved and
retains significant archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is
enhanced by the survival of similar and other forms of later prehistoric
settlement in the vicinity; it will contribute to any study of the wider
settlement pattern at this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 21-64

Source: Historic England

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