Sellet Bank prehistoric defended enclosure


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011685

Date first listed: 31-Oct-1980

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Feb-1995


Ordnance survey map of Sellet Bank prehistoric defended enclosure
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This copy shows the entry on 24-Jan-2019 at 08:15:51.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lancashire

District: Lancaster (District Authority)

Parish: Whittington

National Grid Reference: SD 60511 77336


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 a certain amount of stock erosion, Sellet Bank prehistoric defended enclosure survives reasonably well. It overlooks the River Lune and is one of a number of prehistoric and Romano-British settlements similarly located in close proximity to the Lune valley. The monument will contribute to any further study of early settlement patterns in the area.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric defended enclosure located on a gently sloping plateau on the eastern slope of Sellet Bank overlooking the Lune valley. The enclosure is sub-circular in plan with maximum internal dimensions of approximately 52m by 50m. It is defended on the north and east sides by an inner and outer bank; the former measuring 6m-9m wide and up to 0.4m high, the latter measuring 4m-8m wide and up to 0.8m high, with a gap of about 6m between the two banks. On the south side the enclosure is defended by a single bank 6m wide and 0.3m high with traces of a shallow ditch close to the south western corner. The west side has no delimiter in the form of a bank, but has a steep slope formed by the enclosure having apparently been cut into the hillside. There is an entrance close to the south east corner of the enclosure between the single bank and the linking of the double bank. Internally a cross bank running east-west sub-divides the eastern half of the enclosure. To the south of this bank there is a sub-rectangular hollowed area measuring c.14m by 12m which is interpreted as a small enclosure or stock pen. A large pit 8m in diameter by 1m deep and an adjacent mound at the enclosure's south west corner are of uncertain function, however, they may relate to open cast coal mining which is evident elsewhere in the vicinity.

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: 23762

Legacy System: RSM


FMW Report, Capstick, B, Iron Age or Romano-British enclosure, Sellet Bank, (1992)
In Lancs SMR Ref No. 2682, Gibbon, P, Sellet Bank, (1978)
SMR No 2682, Lancs SMR, Sellet Bank,

End of official listing