Defended settlement on Wall Crags


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 Grid Reference:
NY 92010 69036

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.

The defended settlement on Wall Crags is reasonably well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is enhanced by its proximity to the large defended settlement on Warden Hill; it will contribute to any study of the wider settlement pattern at this time.


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date occupying the edge of an escarpment known as Wall Crags. The roughly oval enclosure measures 70m north east to south west by 50m north west to south east within two stone ramparts on the north east, east and south sides and a single rampart on the west and north west sides, where steep natural defence is provided by the escarpment edge. The ramparts are on average 6m broad and 1m high and although they have been levelled in places, especially on the south and west, their course can be clearly seen. Where the enclosure is surrounded by double ramparts they are separated by a space or berm of up to 6m wide. A well preserved entrance and hollow way, 4m wide, placed centrally through the north western side of the enclosure gives access to the interior. Immediately to the right of the entrance, within the interior, there is a small enclosure 7m square, which may be the remains of a small building associated with the entrance. Within the enclosure there are the remains of at least six circular houses: one of these situated in a central position is very well defined and measures 13m in diameter, the others are less well defined and vary in size from 6m to 13m in diameter. These houses may represent a secondary phase of occupation of the settlement. The two dry stone walls which cross the enclosure from north-south and east-west are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

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
Challis, A J, Harding, D, 'BAR 20, Part 2' in Later Prehistory from the Trent to the Tyne, (1975), 46
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 60, 63
NY 96 NW 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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