Ancient Monuments

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Defended settlement, 450m NNW of Ferney Chesters

A Scheduled Monument in Capheaton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1296 / 55°7'46"N

Longitude: -1.9208 / 1°55'14"W

OS Eastings: 405145.314865

OS Northings: 581696.352387

OS Grid: NZ051816

Mapcode National: GBR H903.YZ

Mapcode Global: WHB1P.GBKD

Entry Name: Defended settlement, 450m NNW of Ferney Chesters

Scheduled Date: 8 March 1963

Last Amended: 9 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011835

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25147

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Capheaton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Cambo Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date occupying a good
defensive position on the southern edge of Shaftoe Crags. The roughly oval
enclosure is 166m east to west by 70m north to south within three ramparts on
the north and north east sides. The ramparts are thought to have originally
continued around the eastern side. The south and western sides of the
enclosure are defended naturally by precipitous cliffs. The ramparts,
constructed of stone and earth, are between 7m and 8m wide and vary from 0.6m
to 2.5m high. A break in the outer ramparts on the eastern side of the
enclosure is thought to represent the site of an original entrance and a
second entrance is visible through the north west end of the enclosure. Within
the settlement a wall of large upright slabs divides the enclosure into a
small west end and a larger eastern end.

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

The defended settlement on Shaftoe Crags is well preserved and retains
significant archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is
enhanced by the survival of a second defended settlement nearby. Taken
together they will contribute to any study of the wider settlement pattern at
this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ball, T, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 3 ser 10' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 3 ser 10, (1922), 242-244
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11, (1947), 175
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 61

Source: Historic England

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