Ancient Monuments

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Craster defended settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Craster, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4691 / 55°28'8"N

Longitude: -1.5976 / 1°35'51"W

OS Eastings: 425539.319945

OS Northings: 619548.405667

OS Grid: NU255195

Mapcode National: GBR K586.X9

Mapcode Global: WHC17.FSHP

Entry Name: Craster defended settlement

Scheduled Date: 1 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014506

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24597

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Craster

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Embleton Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a defended settlement, typical of sites dating to the
Iron Age. It is located on top of Craster Heugh where it was sited to take
advantage of the natural defences of the cliff top. The settlement is
surrounded by three ramparts and a ditch on the east side, but only one slight
bank exists on the west side where the Heugh provides a natural defence. On
the south side only one rampart survives. The ramparts are built of stone and
are now covered in grass. The site measures a total of 70m east-west and 100m
north-south. The entrance into the settlement is located on the south east
The inner rampart is the best preserved and large stones are visible within
the structure. It is 10.8m wide, including the ditch and 1.84m high. The
second rampart is 5.8m wide and 0.87m high. No ditch is visible. The outer
rampart is less well preserved having been ploughed on the south east side. It
is 0.35m high and 10.8m wide. An additional bank has been added to the
defences on the north east side. This sits between the second and third
ramparts. It measures 6m wide and 0.6m high.
Although no longer visible above ground, the remains of buildings originally
located in the settlement will be preserved beneath the present ground
A telegraph pole, a dry stone wall and a series of fence posts are located on
the site. These features are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath them 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

This monument in Craster is in good condition and is substantially intact. It
is located on an area of coastland which has other defended sites of various
periods and will contribute towards our understanding of settlement in this
area from the Iron Age onwards.

Source: Historic England

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