Earthwork 370yds (340m) E of Low Stead
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006529
Date first listed: 15-Jun-1946
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: NU 03315 39559
Ringwork, 351m south east of Lowick Low Steads.
Reasons for Designation
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.
The ringwork south east of Lowick Low Steads is well-preserved and is a good example of a rare monument type. The deep ditches and interior will contain archaeological deposits relating to the construction, use and abandonment of the monument. The monument provides insight into the development of early medieval fortifications.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 May 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a ringwork of medieval date, situated on the tip of a natural promontory just east of a river called The Low. The promontory is formed by the junction of two small valleys with its defensive position being strengthened by the presence of a bog to the north and south and a steep bank falling to the river to the west. The earthwork forms a circular enclosure surrounded by a deep ditch and partial internal bank with a slight outer ditch on the west side. The defences are at their strongest on the south east side where the terrain forms no natural defence. The average width of the ditch is 13m and the maximum drop from the top of the inner bank to the ditch bottom is 5m. The only entrance to the enclosure is on the north west side where there is a slight lowering of the lip and a causeway to provide access across the steep scarped slope. There is a slight rampart on the edge of the scarped slope on each side of the entrance. The earthwork is known to have truncated an earlier earthwork which was previously visible to the south running in to the area now occupied by the ringwork.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: ND 214
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:- 6095
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing