Settlements and cairn east of Laddies Knowe


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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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 88320 28843

Reasons for Designation

The settlements and cairn to the east of Laddies Knowe demonstrate evidence of human activity over a considerable period. The round cairn represents the earliest known activity on the hill spur. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials which were sometimes placed within the mound in stone lined compartments called cists. They often occupy prominent locations and are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. The cairn to the east of Laddies Knowe is a well preserved example of a funerary round cairn and will contribute to the study of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. The adjacent defended settlement dates to the later prehistoric period (7th - 5th centuries BC). It is one of a variety of defensive settlements which were 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 enclosed areas of less than 1ha and defined as defended settlements, were also constructed. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate), others 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 winter, or in enclosed yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. 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. The defended settlement east of Laddies Knowe has a clearly defined outer circuit, no internal features are visible but there is no indication that the interior has been disturbed. The importance of this site is enhanced by its close spatial association with the cairn and later homestead. The homestead represents the latest identified occupation on the site. It is an enclosed settlement of a type constructed and used by non-Roman natives throughout the period of Roman occupation. Several distinctive types have been identified in Northumberland. The majority were small, non-defensive, enclosed settlements or farms. In much of Northumberland, especially in the Cheviots, the enclosures were curvilinear in form. Frequently the enclosures reveal a regularity and similarity of internal layout. The standard layout included one or more stone round-houses situated towards the rear of the enclosure, facing the single entranceway. In front of the houses were paths and small enclosed yards. Homesteads normally had only one or two houses, but larger enclosures could contain as many as six. These homesteads are common throughout the uplands where they frequently survive as well-preserved earthworks. All homestead sites which survive substantially intact will normally be identified as nationally important. The homestead east of Laddies Knowe survives well and is a good example of a Roman period native settlement. It is one of a group of native settlements in the area and will contribute to the study of the wider settlement pattern during this period.


This monument includes a prehistoric defended settlement, an enclosed native homestead of the Roman period and a prehistoric funerary cairn. A series of well preserved cultivation terraces lie to the south east of the defended settlement and appear to be contemporary with it. The full extent and nature of this field system is not yet fully understood, hence it is not included in the scheduling. The defended settlement is situated on the summit of a spur with steep slopes to the north west and south east. It comprises an oval shaped area of c.0.7ha enclosed by a double rampart. The ramparts have been constructed by cutting into the natural hillslope to form a vertical face which was then revetted by stone, in places this incorporates natural stone outcrops. Areas of the revetting can be clearly seen in disturbed areas on the east side of both ramparts. The ramparts are most clearly defined on the east side where they are up to 4m wide and 1.6m high, an outer rampart is not evident on the west side. A break in the ramparts at the north end may indicate the position of the entrance. The south west defences of the defended settlement are abutted by an enclosed homestead of a later date. The homestead is a sub-rectangular enclosure, c.22m x 18m, contained by a single bank of earth and stones. The bank is c.3m wide and up to 0.5m high. The east side of the enclosure is scooped into the hillside to a depth of c.1m. The circular stone foundations of two prehistoric buildings are visible. One building, c.13m in diameter, is set into the south east side of the enclosure. A second, c.6m in diameter, lies outside the enclosure and is built against the northern bank. Immediately to the south of the homestead lies a turf covered stone cairn, 8m in diameter and c.1m high. The cairn is situated on the edge of the spur overlooking the valley to the south.

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:


Books and journals
Topping, P, 'Northern Archaeology 4, part 1' in Stratigraphy of Early Agricultural Remains in Kirknewton Area, , Vol. Vol 4, 1, (1983), 21-31


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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