Defended settlement, 600m south east of Red Stead


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014056

Date first listed: 19-Jan-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Defended settlement, 600m south east of Red Stead
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Longhoughton

National Grid Reference: NU 25567 16307


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.

The defended settlement near Red Stead is well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is one of few surviving defended settlements in a coastal location and will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of prehistoric settlement and activity in the area.


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


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date situated on a slight rise at the southern end of a wide spur. The enclosure, roughly circular in shape, measures 54m in diameter within a single rampart of earth and stone which is on average 8m wide and stands to a maximum height of 1.2m. The existence of an encircling ditch was noted on the north side of the monument at the beginning of the 19th century when it was 7m wide. This survives today as a partly infilled feature. It is thought that the ditch did not continue around all sides of the enclosure as good natural defence is afforded on the south side where steep slopes fall away to a stream. There is a clear entrance into the enclosure on the eastern side with an opposing but smaller entrance through the western side. Fragments of swords and old coins were reportedly found in the interior in 1817 but the location of these is now unknown.

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: 25174

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
MacLaughlan, H, Additional Notes on Roman Roads in Northumberland, (1867), 6
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 63
NU 21 NE 03,

End of official listing