Ancient Monuments

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Defended settlement, 800m NNW of Rough Castles

A Scheduled Monument in Whittingham, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3673 / 55°22'2"N

Longitude: -1.8632 / 1°51'47"W

OS Eastings: 408768.624862

OS Northings: 608156.530605

OS Grid: NU087081

Mapcode National: GBR H6FC.FS

Mapcode Global: WHC1P.CC05

Entry Name: Defended settlement, 800m NNW of Rough Castles

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1967

Last Amended: 29 April 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014064

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25196

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Whittingham

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Whittingham and Edlingham with Bolton Chapel

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date situated on low
lying slightly sloping ground with a northerly aspect. The enclosure, circular
in shape measures a maximum of 42m in diameter within a rampart of stone and
earth which is on average 6m wide and stands to a maximum height of 1.2m.
Surrounding the rampart there is a substantial ditch 6m wide and up to 1.5m
deep below the rampart. There are two original entrances 4m wide through the
rampart and ditch at the north west and the south eastern sides. A break in
the east wall of the settlement is considered to be of later date. The later
earth bank which crosses the south side of the monument is included in the
scheduling as its removal may damage important archaeological deposits.

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 Rough Castles is well preserved and retains
significant archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is
enhanced by the survival of a nearby contemporary settlement which taken
together will add greatly to any study of the wider prehistoric settlement
pattern at this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
MacLaughlan, H, Memoir to Survey of Eastern Branch of the Watling Street, (1864), 18
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 64
NU 00 NE 08,

Source: Historic England

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