Ancient Monuments

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Defended settlement, 600m south east of Red Stead

A Scheduled Monument in Longhoughton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.44 / 55°26'23"N

Longitude: -1.5974 / 1°35'50"W

OS Eastings: 425566.944909

OS Northings: 616307.890097

OS Grid: NU255163

Mapcode National: GBR K58J.YQ

Mapcode Global: WHC1F.FJKH

Entry Name: Defended settlement, 600m south east of Red Stead

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1968

Last Amended: 11 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014056

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25174

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Longhoughton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Howick St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date situated on a
slight rise at the southern end of a wide spur. The enclosure, roughly
circular in shape, measures 54m in diameter within a single rampart of earth
and stone which is on average 8m wide and stands to a maximum height of 1.2m.
The existence of an encircling ditch was noted on the north side of the
monument at the beginning of the 19th century when it was 7m wide. This
survives today as a partly infilled feature. It is thought that the ditch
did not continue around all sides of the enclosure as good natural defence is
afforded on the south side where steep slopes fall away to a stream. There is
a clear entrance into the enclosure on the eastern side with an opposing but
smaller entrance through the western side. Fragments of swords and old coins
were reportedly found in the interior in 1817 but the location of these is now

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 near Red Stead is well preserved and retains
significant archaeological deposits. It is one of few surviving defended
settlements in a coastal location and will add greatly to our knowledge and
understanding of prehistoric settlement and activity in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
MacLaughlan, H, Additional Notes on Roman Roads in Northumberland, (1867), 6
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 63
NU 21 NE 03,

Source: Historic England

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