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Blue Crags hillfort, 730m north-west of Colwell

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Blue Crags hillfort, 730m north-west of Colwell

List entry Number: 1011403

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Chollerton

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 06-Aug-1954

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Mar-1994

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 20932

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

In Cumbria and Northumberland several distinctive types of native settlements dating to the Roman period have been identified. The majority were small, non- defensive, enclosed homesteads or farms. In many areas they were of stone construction, although in the coastal lowlands timber-built variants were also common. In much of Northumberland, especially in the Cheviots, the enclosures were curvilinear in form. Further south a rectangular form was more common. Elsewhere, especially near the Scottish border, another type occurs where the settlement enclosure was `scooped' into the hillslope. 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 pathways and small enclosed yards. Homesteads normally had only one or two houses, but larger enclosures could contain as many as six. At some sites the settlement appears to have grown, often with houses spilling out of the main enclosure and clustered around it. At these sites up to 30 houses may be found. In the Cumbrian uplands the settlements were of less regimented form and unenclosed clusters of houses of broadly contemporary date are also known. These homesteads were being constructed and used by non-Roman natives throughout the period of the Roman occupation. Their origins lie in settlement forms developed before the arrival of the Romans. These homesteads are common throughout the uplands where they frequently survive as well-preserved earthworks. In lowland coastal areas they were also originally common, although there they can frequently only be located through aerial photography. All homestead sites which survive substantially intact will normally be identified as nationally important.

Blue Crags hillfort survives well, despite the loss of the northern rampart. Limited excavation has confirmed that settlement remains within the interior of the site are extensive and well preserved. The survival of visible internal sub-divisions makes this an unusual monument which will contribute significantly to study of prehistoric/Romano-British settlement patterns in this area.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age/Romano-British date situated on a rocky incline of whinstone. The main encircling rampart encloses a rectangular area measuring 192m north-west to south-east by 70m north-east to south-west. The rampart, which runs along the edge of the outcrop on the south, west and east sides, measures on average 5m across and stands to a height of over 1m; the northern rampart has been quarried away. A double wall, with an entrance through it, subsequently damaged by quarrying, divides the enclosure into two parts. The northern and largest part contains the well preserved foundations of at least 12 circular stone-walled huts measuring on average 6.5m in diameter with walls standing 0.5m high. When nine of the hut circles were examined in 1924 the finds uncovered included cupmarked stones, quernstones for the grinding of corn, whetstones and a piece of medieval pottery. The southern enclosure, which contains no visible traces of habitation, would have been used to contain stock. The settlement was given added defence by the addition of substantial ramparts at the foot of the crags on the east and west sides.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Ball, T, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 2 1927' in Blue Crag Promontory Fort, Colwell, Northumberland, (1927), 23-24
Other
No. 5443,

National Grid Reference: NY 94642 76088

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1011403 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 25-Nov-2017 at 02:20:56.

End of official listing