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Sellet Bank prehistoric defended enclosure

A Scheduled Monument in Whittington, Lancashire

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Latitude: 54.1903 / 54°11'24"N

Longitude: -2.6066 / 2°36'23"W

OS Eastings: 360511.799804

OS Northings: 477335.538352

OS Grid: SD605773

Mapcode National: GBR BM7Z.GN

Mapcode Global: WH94N.XYX1

Entry Name: Sellet Bank prehistoric defended enclosure

Scheduled Date: 31 October 1980

Last Amended: 8 February 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011685

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23762

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Whittington

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Whittington St Michael the Archangel

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn


The monument includes a prehistoric defended enclosure located on a gently
sloping plateau on the eastern slope of Sellet Bank overlooking the Lune
valley. The enclosure is sub-circular in plan with maximum internal dimensions
of approximately 52m by 50m. It is defended on the north and east sides by an
inner and outer bank; the former measuring 6m-9m wide and up to 0.4m high, the
latter measuring 4m-8m wide and up to 0.8m high, with a gap of about 6m
between the two banks. On the south side the enclosure is defended by a single
bank 6m wide and 0.3m high with traces of a shallow ditch close to the south
western corner. The west side has no delimiter in the form of a bank, but has
a steep slope formed by the enclosure having apparently been cut into the
There is an entrance close to the south east corner of the enclosure between
the single bank and the linking of the double bank. Internally a cross bank
running east-west sub-divides the eastern half of the enclosure. To the south
of this bank there is a sub-rectangular hollowed area measuring c.14m by 12m
which is interpreted as a small enclosure or stock pen. A large pit 8m in
diameter by 1m deep and an adjacent mound at the enclosure's south west corner
are of uncertain function, however, they may relate to open cast coal mining
which is evident elsewhere in the vicinity.

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 mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of
different types of defensive settlements began to be 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. Construction
and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through
to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD).
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

Despite a certain amount of stock erosion, Sellet Bank prehistoric defended
enclosure survives reasonably well. It overlooks the River Lune and is one of
a number of prehistoric and Romano-British settlements similarly located in
close proximity to the Lune valley. The monument will contribute to any
further study of early settlement patterns in the area.

Source: Historic England


FMW Report, Capstick, B, Iron Age or Romano-British enclosure, Sellet Bank, (1992)
In Lancs SMR Ref No. 2682, Gibbon, P, Sellet Bank, (1978)
SMR No 2682, Lancs SMR, Sellet Bank,

Source: Historic England

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