Unenclosed hut circle settlement 250m west of Woolaw


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009375

Date first listed: 22-Aug-1994


Ordnance survey map of Unenclosed hut circle settlement 250m west of Woolaw
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Rochester


National Grid Reference: NY 81829 98462


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Unenclosed hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. The hut circles take a variety of forms. Some are stone based and are visible as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. Others were timber constructions and only the shallow groove in which the timber uprights used in the wall construction stood can now be identified; this may survive as a slight earthwork feature or may be visible on aerial photographs. Some can only be identified by the artificial earthwork platforms created as level stances for the houses. The number of houses in a settlement varies between one and twelve. In areas where they were constructed on hillslopes the platforms on which the houses stood are commonly arrayed in tiers along the contour of the slope. Several settlements have been shown to be associated with organised field plots, the fields being defined by low stony banks or indicated by groups of clearance cairns. Many unenclosed settlements have been shown to date to the Bronze Age but it is also clear that they were still being constructed and used in the Early Iron Age. They provide an important contrast to the various types of enclosed and defended settlements which were also being constructed and used around the same time. Their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.

The unenclosed settlement west of Woolaw is reasonably well preserved and retains significant archaeological remains. The importance of the monument is enhanced by the survival of several other prehistoric settlements in the immediate vicinity. Taken together they will add to our knowledge and understanding of prehistoric settlement and activity.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a hut circle settlement of prehistoric date situated on the top of a north east facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Rede. The settlement is visible as the remains of three circular stone-founded houses. The most easterly of the houses is 10m in diameter within a boulder wall on average 1m wide and 0.4m high and with an entrance in the eastern side. The middle house is 9m in diameter and has a roughly 10m square enclosure attached to its southern side, defined by a boulder wall. The third and most westerly house is 8m in diameter and, although less well defined, it is still clearly visible as a circular setting of stones.

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: 25090

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Charlton, , Day, , Northern Archaeological Survey Gazeteer, (1975), 113
Charlton, , Day, , Northern Archaeological Survey Gazeteer, (1975), 113
Gates, A, 'Settlement in North Britain 1000BC - AD 1000' in Unenclosed Settlements in Northumberland, (1983), 103-148
Gates, A, 'Settlement in North Britain 1000BC - AD 1000' in Unenclosed Settlements in Northumberland, (1983), 103-148
NY 89 NW 25,

End of official listing