Ancient Monuments

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Kippy Heugh defended settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Easington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.6055 / 55°36'19"N

Longitude: -1.8013 / 1°48'4"W

OS Eastings: 412616.873193

OS Northings: 634667.900478

OS Grid: NU126346

Mapcode National: GBR H3VM.TF

Mapcode Global: WHC0K.9CHM

Entry Name: Kippy Heugh defended settlement

Scheduled Date: 1 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014502

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24636

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Easington

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Belford St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a defended settlement of a type normally attributed to
the Early Iron Age in northern Britain. The site is one of several defended
settlements in the immediate area which occupy naturally defensive positions
on crags close to the sea. It is enclosed within a stone faced bank which
exploits the naturally defensive line of the outcropping crags. Within the
interior are the remains of at least one prehistoric building and a number of
dividing walls. The remains of a track extend from the entrance, southwards,
towards lower ground.
The site is located on the top of a level plateau surrounded by crags. It
commands extensive views to the north, east and west but is overlooked by
higher crags to the south. The settlement occupies a roughly oval shape with
internal measurements of 78m east-west by 36m north-south. It is enclosed by
an external bank on the north, west and east sides, the southern edge is
formed by the outcropping crags. The bank follows the line of the crags, it
is up to 3m wide and 0.5m high with roughly dressed facing stones clearly
visible along lengths of the external face. The bank widens to form broad
horns, up to 5m wide, at the entrance, which is in the eastern side. A slight
ditch, up to 2.5m wide, runs parallel to the inner face of the northern and
western banks, this may represent a quarry ditch from which material was
obtained for the construction of the outer bank.
The interior of the settlement contains the circular stone foundations of a
prehistoric building with an internal diameter of 5m. A number of low, stone
faced banks form the remains of at least two enclosed areas, or courtyards,
within the interior. A broad low bank extends southwards from the circular
building. A second bank, 8m long and 1m wide, runs parallel to this bank at a
distance of c.18m to the east. A third bank is attached to the northern edge
of the circular building and extends east-west for a length of 37m.
A hollow track, 4m wide, is visible at the east entrance to the enclosure.
This extends southwards for a distance of 35m. Beyond this it joins with a
modern track which leads to the lower ground to the south. The track is
defined on the west side by a bank, 5m wide and up to 0.8m high, which runs
parallel to the edge of the crag.
A brick built water tank occupies part of the south west corner of the
settlement, this is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath
it 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

Kippy Heugh defended settlement is a reasonably well preserved example of a
northern prehistoric defended settlement. The full circuit of the outer
defensive bank, and remains of internal features are clearly visible. The
site is one of a cluster of broadly contemporary sites occupying similar
positions along the coastline and, as such, forms part of a wider
archaeological landscape. It will contribute to the study of the wider
settlement pattern during this period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, , Vol. 4ser 43, (1965), 63

Source: Historic England

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