Defended settlement, 300m WNW of West Brizlee


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014067

Date first listed: 29-Oct-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Apr-1996


Ordnance survey map of Defended settlement, 300m WNW of West Brizlee
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Denwick

National Grid Reference: NU 13907 14703


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 West Brizlee is well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is enhanced by the survival of a second defended settlement in the vicinity which taken together will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the wider settlement pattern at this time.


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


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date situated at the end of promontory above the River Aln. The enclosure, semicircular in shape, has been truncated slightly at its western side by a park road. It measures a maximum of 54m north to south by 32m east to west within two substantial earthen ramparts and two ditches. The inner rampart is on average 6m wide and stands to a maximum height of 1.5m above a surrounding ditch 7m wide. The outer rampart is more substantial and measures between 8m to 10m and stands to a height of almost 3m above the outer ditch which is 6m wide. A causeway 6m wide carries an entrance across the ditches and through the ramparts a little to the north of the centre of the eastern side. A second break, south of the first is considered to be modern. The defences are best preserved on the south side and are of progressively slighter dimensions on the northern side where the ramparts are more denuded and the ditches almost infilled.

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: 25199

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 62
NU 11 SW 02,

End of official listing