Mid Hill enclosed settlement, Westnewton


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NT 88132 29586

Reasons for Designation

During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate), others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD). Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national importance.

This monument is in good condition and is substantially intact. It is associated with other broadly contemporary sites in the area and assists in understanding the transition between Iron Age and Roman communities.


The monument includes a hill-top settlement enclosed by a univallate rampart encompassing an area of approximately 0.2 ha and typical of the Iron Age and Roman period. The enclosure is situated on a flattened crest overlooking adjacent valley systems. The location has steep slopes on all sides except that to the north west which may be one of the original routes into the settlement. The rampart encloses an oval area and follows the contours of the hill. The rampart is turf-covered and appears to be of dump rampart construction, ie a rubble and earth bank built without timber or stone revetment. However a small exposed stretch of rampart on the east side does appear to be revetted. The average width of the rampart is between 3m and 5m wide. The maximum external height is 2m and the maximum internal height is 1m. Much of the rubble is still clearly visible. There are opposing entrances to the north west and south east which are formed by simple gaps. The north west entrance is emphasised by thickened ramparts and here the rubble has spread over an area up to 20m wide. The north west rampart has evidence of a recent excavation trench which has been backfilled with rubble core from the rampart. The excavation trench measures 3m by 1.5m. An external feature is visible abutting the south side of the rampart. This consists of a rectangular foundation with an additional earth and stone bank, the foundations measuring 14m long and 6.10m wide. This feature may represent later reuse of the site. An additional external feature is visible on the north side of the settlement, consisting of much disturbed ground which may be the remains of an enclosure for stock. North and west banks survive but no eastern bank is visible, leaving an open ended enclosure. It measures 9m by 14m. In the interior of the hilltop settlement, slight traces of structures are visible which consist of at least two phases of hut circle construction and rectangular foundations. Two concentric hut circles are visible, positioned centrally within the settlement. The maximum diameter of the outer hut circle is 13.6m. The entrances face towards the east. The inner hut circle has a maximum diameter of 8.3m and the orientation of the entrance is unclear. Traces of less clearly discernible hut circles are visible abutting the north rampart and more than one phase of construction is apparent; their maximum diameter is 10.9m. Immediately south of the west entrance of the rampart a small rectangular foundation is visible measuring 3.6m by 3.2m wide. The walls are 0.6m wide and consist of roughly dressed stone with a possible rubble core. The entrance faces south. This may represent later reuse of the site.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


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

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