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The Ringles defended settlement 1025m north west of Middleton Dean

A Scheduled Monument in Ilderton, Northumberland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.5005 / 55°30'1"N

Longitude: -2.0174 / 2°1'2"W

OS Eastings: 399000.038873

OS Northings: 622971.553417

OS Grid: NT990229

Mapcode National: GBR G4CV.11

Mapcode Global: WH9ZW.Z0JK

Entry Name: The Ringles defended settlement 1025m north west of Middleton Dean

Scheduled Date: 18 March 1966

Last Amended: 27 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014931

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24659

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Ilderton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Ilderton St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

This monument includes a multivallate defended settlement of a type
constructed during the Early Iron Age in northern Britain. The sub-oval
enclosure is defended by up to three ramparts and a defensive ditch. The
interior of the enclosure contains the remains of at least four courtyards. A
drystone wall runs across the western edge of the site and is included within
the scheduling. A complex of field banks and rectangular pens lie immediately
to the west of the site. These remains would appear to be post-medieval in
date and are not included in the scheduling.
The site is situated on a steep sided knoll, the ground falls away sharply
to north, south and east and the site commands extensive views to the east.
The site falls within two fields and is divided by a very denuded drystone
wall along the western edge. The interior of the monument comprises an oval
area, 45m by 65m, enclosed within a wide, spread rampart up to 12m wide and up
to 1m high. The more gently sloping ground to the west has been scarped to
form an additional steep sided bank revetted with stone. The dry stone wall
follows the edge of this bank, which appears to extend almost as far as the
post and wire fence to the east of the site. The western side of the monument
is also protected by a steep sided ditch, up to 9m wide and 3.5m deep, with an
outer rampart up to 4m wide and up to 1.5m high. This rampart survives well in
the field to the west of the drystone wall. It is visible for a length of
57m, it has a steep, sharply defined profile and a flat top. Traces of a north
and south return are visible for a short section, but to the east of the dry
stone wall the lower part of the monument has been reduced by ploughing,
slight remains are visible on the southern side for a short distance. The
northern side is naturally so steep that it is unlikely that an additional
defence would have been provided on this side. There are slight traces of a
second bank or rampart, up to 4m wide and 0.1m high, on the eastern side of
the monument, at a distance of c.37m from the inner rampart. The interior of
the main enclosure is slightly dished as a result of at least four courtyards
having been levelled into the hilltop. These courtyards range from 10m by 12m
to 22m by 25m and are defined by low banks. A post and wire fence lies to the
east of the drystone wall, and is excluded from the scheduling but the
ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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
importance.

The Ringles defended settlement is a reasonably well preserved example of a
northern prehistoric defended settlement. Although some of the monument's
outer defences have been reduced by ploughing they are still traceable in
part. The interior of the site and the western defences survive well and are
clearly visible. The monument is situated within 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

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