Ancient Monuments

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Defended settlement, 300m WNW of West Brizlee

A Scheduled Monument in Denwick, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4261 / 55°25'34"N

Longitude: -1.7817 / 1°46'54"W

OS Eastings: 413910.782095

OS Northings: 614711.972615

OS Grid: NU139147

Mapcode National: GBR J50P.1Q

Mapcode Global: WHC1B.LWR4

Entry Name: Defended settlement, 300m WNW of West Brizlee

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1968

Last Amended: 24 April 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014067

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25199

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Denwick

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Alnwick

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date situated at the
end of promontory above the River Aln. The enclosure, semicircular in shape,
has been truncated slightly at its western side by a park road. It measures a
maximum of 54m north to south by 32m east to west within two substantial
earthen ramparts and two ditches. The inner rampart is on average 6m wide and
stands to a maximum height of 1.5m above a surrounding ditch 7m wide. The
outer rampart is more substantial and measures between 8m to 10m and stands to
a height of almost 3m above the outer ditch which is 6m wide. A causeway 6m
wide carries an entrance across the ditches and through the ramparts a little
to the north of the centre of the eastern side. A second break, south of the
first is considered to be modern. The defences are best preserved on the south
side and are of progressively slighter dimensions on the northern side where
the ramparts are more denuded and the ditches almost infilled.

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 West Brizlee is well preserved and retains
significant archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is
enhanced by the survival of a second defended settlement in the vicinity which
taken together will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the
wider settlement pattern at this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 62
NU 11 SW 02,

Source: Historic England

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