Ancient Monuments

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Defended settlement, 400m north west of Rough Castles

A Scheduled Monument in Edlingham, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3632 / 55°21'47"N

Longitude: -1.8627 / 1°51'45"W

OS Eastings: 408801.096089

OS Northings: 607695.77071

OS Grid: NU088076

Mapcode National: GBR H6FF.J8

Mapcode Global: WHC1P.CG7C

Entry Name: Defended settlement, 400m north west of Rough Castles

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1967

Last Amended: 29 April 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014065

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25197

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Edlingham

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 the
northern slopes of a hill. The enclosure, irregular in shape, measures a
maximum of 68m east to west by 54m north to south within a rampart of stone
and earth clearly defined on the western half of the enclosure where it is on
average 5m wide and stands to a height of over 2m. Around the eastern half of
the enclosure this rampart is visible as a low scarp 0.4m high. Surrounding
the rampart on the western half, there is a substantial ditch 7m wide and up
to 1m deep below the rampart. Outside the ditch there is a second bank on
average 3m wide and 0.5m high above the external ground level. The ditch and
the outer rampart are not visible around the eastern half of the enclosure and
it is considered that on this side the outer defences were not completed.
There is an entrance into the enclosure at its southern end where a length of
hollow way 9m wide leads down the hill into the enclosure for a distance of
16m beyond the line of the ditch. The later earth bank which crosses the north
side of the monument is included in the scheduling as its removal may damage
important archaeological features.

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. It is an uncommon example of a possible
unfinished settlement and will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding
of Iron Age settlement and society.

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 09,

Source: Historic England

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