Ancient Monuments

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Multivallate hillfort, 420m SSW of Catcherside

A Scheduled Monument in Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1796 / 55°10'46"N

Longitude: -2.018 / 2°1'4"W

OS Eastings: 398951.895418

OS Northings: 587257.440859

OS Grid: NY989872

Mapcode National: GBR G8BK.X1

Mapcode Global: WHB1F.Z27K

Entry Name: Multivallate hillfort, 420m SSW of Catcherside

Scheduled Date: 28 January 1970

Last Amended: 14 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011100

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21011

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirkwhelpington

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirkwhelpington with Kirkharle and Kirkheaton

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a hillfort of Iron Age date situated on the top of a
small hillock, with a steep drop to the north. The hillfort has a central
oval platform measuring 48m by 35m with artificial scarps on all sides. The
surrounding ditch has been much infilled but is visible as a shallow
depression, except on the north-west side where it is a pronounced feature
12.5m wide and 1.2m in depth below the interior ground level. Outside the
ditch, on the north-west side, there is a well preserved rampart 9m wide and
2m high above the bottom of the ditch. On all other sides the rampart has been
reduced to a slight scarp. The levelling and infilling of the earthworks at
this site is partly the result of ridge and furrow ploughing which surrounds
and overlies the monument.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 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 potential are believed to be of
national importance.

Despite the fact that much of the hillfort SSW of Catcherside has been
levelled by ploughing, it retains significant archaeological deposits,
particularly in the infilled ditches and beneath the overlying riggs. It is
one of a group of settlements of broadly the same period and will contribute
to our knowledge and understanding of the range and nature of later
prehistoric settlement in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11, (1947), 171
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 63
NY 98 NE 16,

Source: Historic England

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