Ancient Monuments

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Promontory fort, 420m east of Shipleymoor

A Scheduled Monument in Eglingham, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4529 / 55°27'10"N

Longitude: -1.7809 / 1°46'51"W

OS Eastings: 413956.574167

OS Northings: 617692.519208

OS Grid: NU139176

Mapcode National: GBR J50D.73

Mapcode Global: WHC1B.M65K

Entry Name: Promontory fort, 420m east of Shipleymoor

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1966

Last Amended: 29 April 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014075

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25186

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Eglingham

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Eglingham St Maurice

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a small fort of Iron Age date situated on a narrow
promontory to which some natural defence is provided by steep slopes on all
but the north east side. On this side earthen ramparts and a ditch have
been constructed in order to create artificial defence. The interior of the
fort, which is roughly triangular in shape, has maximum dimensions of 58m
north to south by 50m east to west. The site of the fort commands the valley
of the Eglingham Burn to the south, and has a steep natural gulley on its
eastern side. The main defences across the neck of the promontory are formed
by two ramparts and two ditches which taken together give a defensive barrier
29m wide. The outer bank stands to a maximum height of 2m. The inner bank
which is 6m-7m wide and stands to a maximum height of 1.2m, is carried around
the edge of the promontory on the north west side in order to give extra
protection to the fort. Further down the slope on the north west there is a
terrace feature which continues to the south east side where it runs into the
slope. There is an entrance into the fort at the eastern side, protected by a
short stretch of rampart.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally
defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more
earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it
from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by
steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings
defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches
formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected
along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an
entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively
for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone-
walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings
used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally
Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth
century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with
other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status,
probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest
that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display
as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded
examples. In view of their rarity and their importance in the understanding of
the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are considered nationally

The promontory fort near Shipleymoor is very well preserved and retains
significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of small Iron Age
settlements in the area which taken together will contribute to any study of
the wider settlement pattern at this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11' in A New List of the Native Sites of Northumberland, (1951), 163
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 62
NU 11 NW 11,

Source: Historic England

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