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Prehistoric enclosures, Bronze Age field system, unenclosed round houses and three cairns north west of Langlee Crags, 900m south of Langlee

A Scheduled Monument in Ilderton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4951 / 55°29'42"N

Longitude: -2.0591 / 2°3'32"W

OS Eastings: 396364.993559

OS Northings: 622364.484557

OS Grid: NT963223

Mapcode National: GBR G42X.00

Mapcode Global: WH9ZW.B4QR

Entry Name: Prehistoric enclosures, Bronze Age field system, unenclosed round houses and three cairns NW of Langlee Crags, 900m south of Langlee

Scheduled Date: 18 June 1973

Last Amended: 16 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016245

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29331

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


The monument includes the remains of three irregular enclosures probably of
prehistoric date, an extensive field system with lynchets, field plots, field
clearance and burial cairns and unenclosed hut circles of Bronze Age date. The
monument is located on gently sloping land overlooked by Langlee Crags to the
south east; to the north west the ground falls away steeply into the valley of
the Harthope Burn. The scheduling is divided into four separate areas.
The most northerly enclosure is sub-rectangular in shape and measures
approximately 50m by 37m internally. It is enclosed by a bank of earth and
stone up to 0.5m high, with a stone kerb visible in places along its outer
edge and an entrance in the south west side. The interior has an even surface
which is raised about 0.3m above the exterior ground surface. In the north
west corner is a hut circle 8m in diameter. A second, irregular, enclosure is
situated 15m to the south. It is defined by a bank up to 0.5m high on three
sides with kerb stones visible on both the inner and outer faces. On the south
side the enclosure is slightly scooped up to 0.75m deep. Fragments of curving
banks indicate the remains of up to five hut circles or hut platforms inside
and adjacent to this enclosure; two hut circles lie within the enclosure and
three outside. Three further fragmentary banks, or lynchets, lie immediately
to the east of the enclosure and appear to define a small associated land
plot. The ground surface within the plot has a smooth appearance which has
been interpreted elsewhere in the Cheviots as an area prepared for
cultivation. Two conjoined hut circles, 3m in diameter internally and defined
by banks 0.5m high lie 10m south of these plots. The most southerly enclosure
lies 65m south of these hut circles and is roughly oval in shape. It is
defined by a bank 1.5m wide by 0.5m high with a slightly inturned entrance, 2m
wide, in the south side.
Around the enclosures and lynchets is an extensive cairnfield. The most
southerly part comprises nine cairns and is associated with a single hut
circle and lynchet approximately 110m south west of the most southerly
enclosure. The intervening area also has a smooth appearance and is
interpreted as another area artificially prepared for cultivation through
stone clearance. The largest group of cairns lies to the west and south of the
two most northerly enclosures and comprises at least 30 cairns. The majority
are irregular in shape and are probably field clearance cairns, with
dimensions up to 6m diameter and 0.2m to 0.6m high. Within the group are a
cluster of about seven cairns which are compact and well formed, with average
dimensions of 3.5m diameter by 0.4m high, which are interpreted as possible
burial cairns. A third group of 14 cairns lies to the north east of the most
northerly enclosure; they are irregular in shape and measure 3m to 5m in
diameter and up to 0.5m high. At the most northerly point of this cairn group
is a circular platform, 8m in diameter, terraced into the slope on the south
west side and enclosed by a bank 1m wide and up to 0.2m high on the remaining
sides. The northern edge of the field system is partly delineated by an
irregular bank, up to 0.2m high by 1m wide, with stone revetting on the
northern edge. To the east of the monument lies a wide, boggy tract of land
and on higher ground beyond is a string of three cairns. The most northerly
cairn is 6m in diameter by 0.5m high. The central cairn is a probable ring
cairn 6m in diameter with an internal kerb visible within the disturbed
interior and a bank c.2m wide.
The most southerly cairn measures 6m by 5m and stands 0.5m high; it has a
slight central depression and is interpreted as a burial cairn.

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

In the uplands of northern England a wide variety of prehistoric enclosures
can be found. These range from relatively large, rectangular enclosures with
earth and stone banks, to smaller, irregular areas enclosed by rubble and
boulder walls. Most are dated to the Bronze Age, Iron Age or early
Romano-British period (2000 BC-AD 200). They were sometimes constructed as
stock pens, or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes
subdivided to accommodate animal shelters and hut circles for farmers or
herders. The larger regular enclosures tend to be dated towards the beginning.
Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to other monument classes
provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and
land use among prehistoric communities.
Cairnfields often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone
cleared from their surrounding land surface to improve its use for
agriculture. However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated. The
majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance which began
during the Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze Age (2000-700 BC).
The considerable longevity and variation in the size, content and associations
of cairnfields provide important information on the development of land use
and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain information on the
diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period.
Unenclosed hut circles settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric
farmers. The number of houses in a settlement varies between one and twelve.
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 prehistoric enclosures, Bronze Age field system and unenclosed round
houses north west of Langlee Crags are all well preserved and will retain
significant archaeological deposits. Their importance is enhanced by their
association with each other and their location within an area of clustered
sites whose archaeological remains survive well in the northern Cheviots. They
form part of a wider archaeological landscape and will provide important
information for any study of the land use and settlement patterns in the
Cheviots during this period.

Source: Historic England

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