Ancient Monuments

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Fawcett Shank defended settlement, 620m SSE of Fleehope

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5014 / 55°30'5"N

Longitude: -2.1802 / 2°10'48"W

OS Eastings: 388714.46734

OS Northings: 623084.325205

OS Grid: NT887230

Mapcode National: GBR F46T.SQ

Mapcode Global: WH9ZM.HZ1F

Entry Name: Fawcett Shank defended settlement, 620m SSE of Fleehope

Scheduled Date: 22 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014492

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24631

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirknewton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date which is overlain
by a modern sheepfold. The defended settlement is situated on the summit of
Fawcett Shank, a north-south ridge with steep slopes on the east and west,
gently falling ground to the north, and overlooked by West Hill to the south.
The extensive views along the valleys of the College Burn to the west and the
Lambden Burn to the east are obscured by a modern forestry plantation.
The defended settlement is roughly oval in plan, measures externally 62m
north-south by 51m east-west and is enclosed by a single stone rampart. The
rampart stands up to 0.75m high and is up to 10m wide including tumbled
material. Only on the east side is the outer edge of the rampart clearly
visible where it consists of large roughly dressed revetting stones, some of
which are particularly well finished. The remainder of the rampart is mainly
the rubble core. There is a simple gap entrance 2m wide on the east side which
is marked on either side by large stones. Against the south east side of the
rampart is a platform 3m long by 1.5m wide; this may represent an earlier
rampart edge or collapse of the rampart.
The interior of the site is largely undisturbed and covered in deep
tussocky grass which obscures any internal features apart from those in the
south associated with the later sheepfold. The sheepfold overlies the inner
edge of the rampart around its full circuit and contains the remains of pens.
It is constructed of stone from the rampart. The dry stone walls of the
sheepfold are up to 1m wide and stand up to 1.5m high. A stony bank two to
three courses high, and probably also associated with the later use of the
site, runs south eastwards from the inner western edge of the rampart for 19m.

Around the outside of the rampart on the north side are the foundations of
two sub rectangular enclosures or buildings. They are attached to the north
side of the rampart and measure 18m long by 6m wide, and 8m long by 6m wide
respectively, the latter has a tumbled line of stone running diagonally across
the interior. Both sets of foundations are built over the rampart core and
indicate a secondary use although their date is unclear.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 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 Fawcett Shank is a reasonably well preserved
example of a northern prehistoric defended settlement. The full circuit of the
rampart is still visible despite some robbing to construct a later sheepfold.
The interior appears to be largely undisturbed and will retain significant
archaeological deposits. The site is situated within an area of broadly
contemporary settlements of very high quality and forms part of a wider
archaeological landscape. As such it will contribute significantly to our
understanding of the organisation and development of land use during this

Source: Historic England

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