Ancient Monuments

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Defended settlement on Dunstan Hill 400m north of Doxford Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Newton-by-the-Sea, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.507 / 55°30'25"N

Longitude: -1.7119 / 1°42'42"W

OS Eastings: 418296.51944

OS Northings: 623734.827801

OS Grid: NU182237

Mapcode National: GBR J4HR.5P

Mapcode Global: WHC0Z.PV13

Entry Name: Defended settlement on Dunstan Hill 400m north of Doxford Farm

Scheduled Date: 1 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014486

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24612

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Newton-by-the-Sea

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Ellingham St Maurice

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date situated on the
summit of a glacial mound and overlooked by higher ground to the west. It has
been formed by scarping the natural slopes of the mound and adding a slight
inner rampart. The roughly oval shaped enclosure measures internally 90m north
east to south west by 51m north west to south east within an earth rampart up
to 7.1m wide which, although slight for most of the perimeter, stands to a
maximum internal height of 1.5m on the north east side while external scarping
of the natural slope gives it a maximum height of 6m. On the north east side a
ditch, 8m wide and up to 2m deep, isolates the enclosure from the remainder of
the hill. There are two possible entrances on the east and south, 8m and 13m
wide respectively. There is extensive ridge and furrow around and within the
enclosure which has obscured any surface remains of internal occupation. The
fence around the plantation in the centre of the enclosure is excluded from
the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

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 on Dunstan Hill is reasonably well preserved despite
overlying ridge and furrow and is likely to retain significant archaeological
deposits. It will contribute to the study of the wider settlement pattern at
this time.

Source: Historic England


Lax, A, An Examination of the Iron Age Enclosure at Dunstan Hill, N'land, 1991, undergraduate dissertation

Source: Historic England

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