Ancient Monuments

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Warton Crag small multivallate hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Warton, Lancashire

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Latitude: 54.1493 / 54°8'57"N

Longitude: -2.7791 / 2°46'44"W

OS Eastings: 349211.335209

OS Northings: 472886.963037

OS Grid: SD492728

Mapcode National: GBR 9N1G.4C

Mapcode Global: WH83N.8YWZ

Entry Name: Warton Crag small multivallate hillfort

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 3 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007633

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23643

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Warton

Built-Up Area: Warton

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Warton St Oswald (or Holy Trinity)

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn


The monument is an Iron Age small multivallate hillfort containing remains of
stone huts located on the summit of Warton Crag overlooking Morecambe Bay. It
includes a sub-rectangular enclosure of approximately 3.2ha in extent
occupying the summit of the crag, and is defended by a combination of rock
scarps and steep slopes to the south and west, and three stone ramparts to the
north and east. The ramparts measure between 3m-7m wide and are up to 1.3m
high and are set roughly parallel to each other and approximately 50m-60m
apart. Within the enclosure are boulder foundations of three sub-rectangular
huts constructed against a long low rock escarpment. Immediately outside the
inner rampart a further two hut foundations are located against the same
escarpment. To the south, below the main summit of the crag, faint traces of a
bank and ditch have recently been observed along the edge of a limestone
shelf. To the north of the outer rampart antiquarian sources noted the
existence of numerous oval tumuli. These are no longer clearly visible as
earthworks, but below ground remains, including the remains of any deep burial
pits, are anticipated to survive well.
The summit cairn, which is a modern construction, and all walls and fences are
excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath these features is

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

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. The interior generally consists
of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures
interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety
of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of
small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a
similar nature. 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.

Despite a thick covering of trees and vegetation, Warton Crag small
multivallate hillfort survives reasonably well. It remains largely
unencumbered by modern development, and will retain evidence for the
settlement within the hillfort's interior and for the construction methods and
phasing of the ramparts. It is a rare example of a small multivallate hillfort
in north-west England and one of only three examples of this class of monument
in Lancashire.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Farrer, W, Brownbill, J, The Victoria History of the County of Lancashire, (1914), 509-11
Forde-Johnson, J, Hillforts of the Iron Age in England and Wales, (1976), 161
? Iles,P., MPP Selection of monuments of national importance - Hillforts, (1991)
Capstick, B., AM107, (1986)
Hutchinson,W., Account of Antiquities in Lancashire (in a letter to G. Allan), (1788)
Raymond,F., MPP Single Mon Class Descriptions - Small Multivallate Hillforts, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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