Ancient Monuments

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Green Castle ringwork 320m south west of Humbleton Mill

A Scheduled Monument in Wooler, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5444 / 55°32'39"N

Longitude: -2.0304 / 2°1'49"W

OS Eastings: 398178.307422

OS Northings: 627850.268866

OS Grid: NT981278

Mapcode National: GBR G48B.6B

Mapcode Global: WH9ZH.SXB0

Entry Name: Green Castle ringwork 320m south west of Humbleton Mill

Scheduled Date: 23 August 1935

Last Amended: 7 August 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019926

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34226

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Wooler

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Wooler St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a ringwork of medieval date, known as
Green Castle, situated on a high promontory above the Humbleton Burn and
overlooking the town of Wooler. The ringwork has been constructed in order to
utilize the steep natural defences on the north east and south east sides of
the promontory. The remaining sides have been modified to create a steep sided
mound, and a line of retaining stones is visible across the south west slope
where erosion has occurred. In addition, a ditch with a maximum width of 5m
and a slight counterscarp bank have been dug around the south, west and north
sides further enhancing the defences. The ringwork is D-shaped in plan and
measures approximately 50m north east to south west by 46m north west to south
east internally. A bank, up to 0.7m high, has been constructed around the top
of the mound on all sides except the north east, which drops sharply to the
Humbleton Burn. Both the internal and external facing stones of this bank are
visible. The interior of the ringwork is concave, although the ground level is
considerably higher than outside the enclosure wall. The interior is
subdivided by a north-south bank which stands up to 0.2m high. Aerial
photographs indicate a second subdivision inside the ringwork, but this is
difficult to trace on the ground.
The concrete casing, access chamber and flap of a water pipeline which runs
across the south west part of the ringwork are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late
Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended
area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a
substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a
stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the
bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military
operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements.
They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60
with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted
range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular
significance to our understanding of the period.

Green Castle ringwork 320m south west of Humbleton Mill is well-preserved and
a good example of its type. It will contain occupation debris and evidence
relating to its use as a stronghold which will enhance our understanding of
fortifications from this period. In addition, the structure of the ringwork
will reveal details of the manner of its construction. As a rare monument type
in Northumberland it will contribute to the study of fortifications in this

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Northumberland, (1992), 635
NT 92 NE 59,
SF/3035/151, Gates, T, NT/9827/E Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle upon Tyne, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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