Ancient Monuments

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Two defended settlements, 200m north of Gallowshaw

A Scheduled Monument in Netherwitton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.2078 / 55°12'28"N

Longitude: -1.8181 / 1°49'5"W

OS Eastings: 411671.654614

OS Northings: 590407.187959

OS Grid: NZ116904

Mapcode National: GBR H8R6.5Z

Mapcode Global: WHC2H.1CHH

Entry Name: Two defended settlements, 200m north of Gallowshaw

Scheduled Date: 19 February 1976

Last Amended: 11 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014060

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25178

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Netherwitton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Netherwitton

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of two defended settlements of Iron Age date
situated on the south eastern slope of Gallowshaw Hill overlooking the valley
of the River Font to the west, south and east. The western settlement is
roughly oval in shape and measures 78m north east to south west by 42m north
west to south east, within a slight earthen bank. Surrounding the enclosure
there is a ditch with an average width of 7m which is 1m deep below a
counterscarp bank 0.8m high. There is known to be an entrance 3m wide through
the south western side of the enclosure. The eastern settlement, situated 28m
away, is roughly circular in shape and measures 64m east to west by 74m north
to south within the slight remains of a rampart and a ditch varying between 8m
to 10m wide. It is thought that this enclosure also originally had a
counterscarp bank but this has become denuded over the years and is difficult
to trace.

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 settlements near Gallowshaw are reasonably well preserved and
retain significant archaeological deposits. Defended settlements occupying
hill slopes in this fashion are not common in Northumberland and these are
good examples of their type.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
MacLaughlan, H, Memoir to Survey of Eastern Branch of the Watling Street, (1864), 11-12
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 64
NZ 19 SW 09,

Source: Historic England

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