Two defended settlements, 200m north of Gallowshaw


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014060

Date first listed: 19-Feb-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Two defended settlements, 200m north of Gallowshaw
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Netherwitton

National Grid Reference: NZ 11675 90411


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 settlements near Gallowshaw are reasonably well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. Defended settlements occupying hill slopes in this fashion are not common in Northumberland and these are good examples of their type.


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


The monument includes the remains of two defended settlements of Iron Age date situated on the south eastern slope of Gallowshaw Hill overlooking the valley of the River Font to the west, south and east. The western settlement is roughly oval in shape and measures 78m north east to south west by 42m north west to south east, within a slight earthen bank. Surrounding the enclosure there is a ditch with an average width of 7m which is 1m deep below a counterscarp bank 0.8m high. There is known to be an entrance 3m wide through the south western side of the enclosure. The eastern settlement, situated 28m away, is roughly circular in shape and measures 64m east to west by 74m north to south within the slight remains of a rampart and a ditch varying between 8m to 10m wide. It is thought that this enclosure also originally had a counterscarp bank but this has become denuded over the years and is difficult to trace.

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: 25178

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
MacLaughlan, H, Memoir to Survey of Eastern Branch of the Watling Street, (1864), 11-12
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 64
NZ 19 SW 09,

End of official listing