Ancient Monuments

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Subcircular enclosed settlement on Horse Close Hill 250m north of Horse Close Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Skipton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.9503 / 53°57'1"N

Longitude: -2.0067 / 2°0'24"W

OS Eastings: 399657.012346

OS Northings: 450469.84651

OS Grid: SD996504

Mapcode National: GBR GQFR.CN

Mapcode Global: WHB78.4YPZ

Entry Name: Subcircular enclosed settlement on Horse Close Hill 250m north of Horse Close Farm

Scheduled Date: 31 January 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015629

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29151

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Skipton

Built-Up Area: Skipton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes an enclosed Iron Age hilltop settlement visible as a
sub-circular enclosure c.50m in diameter. It is situated near Skipton, on the
top of Horse Close Hill, 250m north of Horse Close Farm. The outer wall
consists of a double row of orthostats up to 1m high, with rubble and boulders
between. The orthostatic wall appears to be a later addition; originally, the
settlement was unenclosed. The enclosed area is sub-divided by a number of
additional rubble banks. On the north west side, the enclosure is overridden
by a fieldwall, and has been destroyed by quarrying c.1m to the north west of
the wall. Hut circles would have occupied the interior of the enclosure and
evidence of these will survive beneath the present ground surface.
The modern fieldwall on the north west side of the enclosure is excluded from
the scheduling, but the ground beneath the wall is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Hilltop enclosures are defined as sub-rectangular or elongated areas of
ground, usually between 10ha and 40ha in size, situated on hilltops or
plateaux and surrounded by slight univallate earthworks. They date to between
the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth-fifth centuries BC) and are usually
interpreted as stock enclosures or sites where agricultural produce was
stored. Many examples of hilltop enclosures may have developed into more
strongly defended sites later in the Iron Age period and are therefore often
difficult to recognise in their original form. The earthworks generally
consist of a bank separated from an external ditch by a level berm. Access to
the interior was generally provided by two or three entrances which consisted
of simple gaps in the rampart. Evidence for internal features is largely
dependent on excavation, and to date this has included large areas of sparsely
scattered features including post and stakeholes, hearths and pits.
Rectangular or square buildings are also evident; these are generally defined
by between four and six postholes and are thought to have supported raised
granaries. Hilltop enclosures are rare, with between 25 and 30 examples
recorded nationally. A greater number may exist but these could have been
developed into hillforts later in the Iron Age and could only be confirmed by
detailed survey or excavation. The majority of known examples are located in
two regions, on the chalk downland of Wessex and Sussex and in the Cotswolds.
More scattered examples are found in north-east Oxfordshire and north
Northamptonshire. This class of monument has not been recorded outside
England. In view of the rarity of hilltop enclosures and their importance in
understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of
national importance.

This enclosure is an unusual example of an Iron Age hilltop settlement. Its
situation and form bear some resemblance to the smaller hillforts of the
period. It is, however, smaller than most hillforts, and lacks the ditches and
ramparts usually associated with that type of feature. The orthostatic wall
surrounding the Horse Close Hill settlement is too slight to have had a
defensive function.
This settlement survives well, and provides an example of a small settlement
type, thus making a significant contribution to the study of settlement and
social organisation in the Iron Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Prehistoric Research Society' in Y A S. Prehistoric Research Society Bulletin, , Vol. 7, (1969), 1
'Prehistoric Research Society' in Y A S Prehistoric Research Society Bulletin, , Vol. 6, (1968), 1
'Prehistoric Research Society' in Y A S Prehistoric Research Society Bulletin, , Vol. 4, (1966), 2
Sites and Monuments Record, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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