Ancient Monuments

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Tathey Crags prehistoric unenclosed hut circle settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Ilderton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4843 / 55°29'3"N

Longitude: -2.0573 / 2°3'26"W

OS Eastings: 396479.039

OS Northings: 621164.7339

OS Grid: NT964211

Mapcode National: GBR G520.DV

Mapcode Global: WH9ZW.CFL0

Entry Name: Tathey Crags prehistoric unenclosed hut circle settlement

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1973

Last Amended: 15 April 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015644

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29318

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Ilderton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


This monument includes an unenclosed hut circle settlement of prehistoric date
flanking the eastern side of Tathey Crags. The settlement is located on a
broad ridge above the valley of the Harthope Burn and has extensive views in
all directions. It comprises at least 15 stone founded round houses which
measure between 5m and 9m in diameter and stand up to 0.3m high. The majority
have an entrance gap which is randomly orientated. Two round houses lie
outside the main group at the foot of the crags: one is situated at the tail
of the crags and one on the crags themselves. Amongst the round houses are at
least two round cairns up to 3m in diameter and 0.3m high. Towards the south
east end of the tail of the crags, an earth and stone bank 0.3m high projects
north eastward and is visible for a distance of c.29m before petering out.
This is interpreted as the possible remains of an associated field system.

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

Unenclosed hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric
farmers. The hut circles take a variety of forms. Some are stone based and are
visible as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. Others were
timber constructions and only the shallow groove in which the timber uprights
used in the wall construction stood can now be identified; this may survive as
a slight earthwork feature or may be visible on aerial photographs. Some can
only be identified by the artificial earthwork platforms created as level
stances for the houses. The number of houses in a settlement varies between
one and twelve. In areas where they were constructed on hillslopes the
platforms on which the houses stood are commonly arrayed in tiers along the
contour of the slope. Several settlements have been shown to be associated
with organised field plots, the fields being defined by low stony banks or
indicated by groups of clearance cairns.
Many unenclosed settlements have been shown to date to the Bronze Age but it
is also clear that they were still being constructed and used in the Early
Iron Age. They provide an important contrast to the various types of enclosed
and defended settlements which were also being constructed and used around the
same time. Their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument
types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation
and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.

The unenclosed hut circle settlement at Tathey Crags is very well preserved
and will contain significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of
prehistoric settlements located close to rock outcrops above the valley of the
Harthope Burn and is situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites
of high quality. It forms part of a wider archaeological landscape and will
contribute to any study of the wider settlement and land use pattern during
this period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 50' in Notes On Additional Early Settlements In Northumberland, , Vol. 50, (1972), 71-80

Source: Historic England

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