Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Great Hetha defended settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 55.5402 / 55°32'24"N

Longitude: -2.1829 / 2°10'58"W

OS Eastings: 388556.597041

OS Northings: 627405.000697

OS Grid: NT885274

Mapcode National: GBR F46C.6T

Mapcode Global: WH9ZM.F0RM

Entry Name: Great Hetha defended settlement

Scheduled Date: 22 August 1935

Last Amended: 9 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014508

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24605

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 bivallate defended settlement of a type constructed
during the Iron Age in northern Britain. It is situated in a defensive
position on the summit of a hill with steep slopes on all sides except the
south west where a ridge joins the hill.
The oval enclosure, measuring 0.6ha, is contained within two stone banks
formed of earth and stone and partly formed by scarping the natural slope. The
outer bank, measuring between 3m and 8m wide with a maximum height internally
of 0.5m and externally 2.5m, is concentric except on the north east side where
it leaves the inner rampart to enclose a small level area. The inner rampart
measures between 7m and 10m wide with a maximum internal height of 3m. The
thick spread of stones indicate that substantial walls stood around this site.
The land between the inner and outer ramparts measures 15.24m wide except at
the north east end where it measures 30.48m wide. Within the level area
between the two ramparts on the north east side, there is a small oval
enclosure measuring 9.5m by 6m consisting of a slight bank of earth and
stones. At the east end of this small enclosure are the foundations for a
circular house measuring 3m in diameter. A bank runs between the inner and
outer ramparts and divides the level outer area into two. Beyond the outer
rampart on the north east side, a small earthwork runs parallel to it. This
earthwork may represent an additional line of defence, or alternatively a
recutting of the outer rampart.
There are two entrances into the main enclosure. The one on the north west
side is slightly staggered. The other entrance is on the north east side where
traces of revetting can be seen.
The interior of the main enclosure contains the slight remains of three
possible stone built foundations of prehistoric buildings. Although no other
signs of internal habitation are visible above ground, the remains of
buildings originally located in the settlement will be preserved beneath the
present ground surface.

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 defended settlement at Great Hetha is a well preserved example of a
northern defended settlement. It has suffered very little disturbance and is
substantially intact. It is located in an area of clustered archaeological
sites of high quality and therefore forms part of a wider archaeological
landscape. As such it will contribute significantly 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. XLIII, (1965), 42-43
Gates, T, NT8827L, Dept of Archaeology, University of Newcastle, (1986)

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.