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Castle Hill prehistoric defended enclosure

A Scheduled Monument in Leck, Lancashire

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Latitude: 54.1959 / 54°11'45"N

Longitude: -2.5373 / 2°32'14"W

OS Eastings: 365039.286327

OS Northings: 477925.452283

OS Grid: SD650779

Mapcode National: GBR BMQX.GN

Mapcode Global: WH94Q.0S0Q

Entry Name: Castle Hill prehistoric defended enclosure

Scheduled Date: 3 November 1964

Last Amended: 14 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012822

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23769

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Leck

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Tunstall St John the Baptist and Melling St Wilfred and Leck St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn


The monument includes Castle Hill prehistoric defended enclosure located on a
flat-topped spur to the east of Leck Beck, from where there are extensive
views south and west along the lower course of the Lune valley. It includes a
sub-circular enclosure containing two hut circles which is surrounded by
defensive earthworks comprising three banks and two ditches. The enclosure
measures approximately 80m by 67m internally and has entrances at the north
and south sides connected by a trackway running across the site. To the west
of the trackway, against the inner bank of the monument, there is a
sub-circular hut circle measuring c.18m in diameter together with what are now
a number of incoherent banks and hollows which were described by W G
Collingwood in 1924 as hut circles. To the east of the trackway is a second
hut circle of similar size to that surviving in the western part of the
enclosure. The inner bank surrounding the enclosure survives as a slight
earthwork visible in places as a low mound up to 4m wide. Beyond the inner
bank is a shallow ditch 6m-11m wide. Beyond this is the central of the three
banks which survives, like the inner bank, as a low earthwork up to 4m wide.
This is flanked by an outer ditch measuring c.9m wide by 0.5m deep, and a
substantial outer bank of stone and earth up to 6m wide and 1.2m high. The
trackway cuts through the banks and is carried on a causeway across the outer

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 minor surface disturbance which has damaged the defensive earthworks
and the interior of the enclosure in places, Castle Hill prehistoric defended
enclosure survives reasonably well. It overlooks a tributary of 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


Books and journals
Collingwood, W G, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Proceedings, , Vol. XXV, (1924), 367
Lowndes, R, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Celtic Fields, Farms And Burial Mounds In The Lune Valley, , Vol. LXIII, (1963), 92-5
FMW Report, Capstick, B, Castle Hill, (1993)
In Lancs SMR Ref no 672, Castle Hill,
In Lancs SMR ref no. 672, Turner, RC, Castle Hill, (1978)
SMR No. 672, Lancs SMR, Castle Hill, (1984)

Source: Historic England

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