Defended settlement 580m north west of Gowanburn and associated medieval buildings


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009672

Date first listed: 28-Nov-1994


Ordnance survey map of Defended settlement 580m north west of Gowanburn and associated medieval buildings
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Kielder

National Grid Reference: NY 64271 91770


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

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.

Despite having been partially levelled at the south east side by afforestation, the defended settlement near Gowanburn is reasonably well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of prehistoric monuments situated near the confluence of the River North Tyne and Kielder Burn; taken together they will add to our knowledge and understanding of prehistoric settlement and activity at this time.


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


The monument includes the remains of a defended enclosure of Iron Age date situated on the crest of a south east facing spur. The enclosure, roughly circular in shape, measures 50m in diameter within a narrow ditch up to 2.5m wide and 0.6m deep. Outside the ditch there is a substantial earthen bank 5m wide and a maximum of 1m high above the external ground surface. On the western side of the enclosure there are several large stones embedded in the bank; these are interpreted as the remains of an outer revetment. The existence of an internal rather than an external ditch is an unusual feature in this enclosure. On the south east side of the enclosure the bank has been levelled and the ditch infilled, however the latter can be traced for part of its course as a damp hollow. Immediately to the south of the enclosure there are the remains of at least two rectangular buildings first noted by MacLaughlan in 1867 when there were apparently more than two. The two remaining buildings measure 10m by 5m and are placed at an angle to each other. It is presumed that the other buildings have been destroyed by the adjacent fire break.

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: 25112

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
MacLaughlan, H, Additional Notes on Roman Roads in Northumberland, (1867), 65
Long, B, List Of Ancient Monuments- The Kielder Forests, (1988)
NY 69 SW 11,

End of official listing