Ancient Monuments

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Hillfort on Warden Hill, 1km north-west of High Warden

A Scheduled Monument in Warden, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.0052 / 55°0'18"N

Longitude: -2.1513 / 2°9'4"W

OS Eastings: 390419.885558

OS Northings: 567861.148634

OS Grid: NY904678

Mapcode National: GBR FBFK.1K

Mapcode Global: WHB24.XGR8

Entry Name: Hillfort on Warden Hill, 1km north-west of High Warden

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1932

Last Amended: 4 February 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011421

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20926

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Warden

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Warden

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a hillfort of Iron Age date situated on the summit of
Warden Hill. The site has extensive views in all directions and is located
near the junction of the rivers North and South Tyne. The enclosure is roughly
circular in shape and measures 85m east to west by 63m north to south within
three ramparts and a ditch. The ramparts have become spread and give the
impression of being terraced into the hillside; the two outer ramparts, which
are 0.4m and 1.5m high, are only 1.5m apart and were originally separated by
a ditch which has become obscured by the spreading ramparts. The more
substantial inner rampart measures 6m across and has a maximum height of 2m.
Where the matrix of the rampart is clear of turf, it is composed of large
facing stones infilled with smaller stones and earth. An original, slightly
inturned, entrance can clearly be seen in the western side of the fort. There
are no visible traces of circular houses within the hillfort but some will
survive beneath ground level; others have been damaged and obscured by surface
quarrying. Examination of aerial photographs has revealed the possible
existence of a small Romano-British settlement overlying the north-western
corner of the hillfort. This lies in an area of surface quarrying and its
outline is difficult to determine with certainty. The stone field wall which
crosses the southern edge of the protected area and the re-erected trig point
which lies on the southern perimeter of the protected area are excluded from
the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 some damage from surface quarrying, the hillfort on Warden Hill
survives reasonably well. Its strategic position commanding the confluence of
the North and South Tyne suggests that it was a stronghold of some importance
and, together with the other prehistoric sites in the region, it will increase
our knowledge of later prehistoric settlement and activity along the river

Source: Historic England


AP A/130038/1, McCord, N, Aerial Photography: Experiences of an Historian, Between And Beyond The Walls,

Source: Historic England

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