Promontory fort, 420m east of Shipleymoor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014075

Date first listed: 01-Nov-1966

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Apr-1996


Ordnance survey map of Promontory fort, 420m east of Shipleymoor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Eglingham

National Grid Reference: NU 13965 17694


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

Reasons for Designation

Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone- walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status, probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded examples. In view of their rarity and their importance in the understanding of the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are considered nationally important.

The promontory fort near Shipleymoor is very well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of small Iron Age settlements in the area which taken together will contribute to any study of the wider settlement pattern at this time.


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


The monument includes a small fort of Iron Age date situated on a narrow promontory to which some natural defence is provided by steep slopes on all but the north east side. On this side earthen ramparts and a ditch have been constructed in order to create artificial defence. The interior of the fort, which is roughly triangular in shape, has maximum dimensions of 58m north to south by 50m east to west. The site of the fort commands the valley of the Eglingham Burn to the south, and has a steep natural gulley on its eastern side. The main defences across the neck of the promontory are formed by two ramparts and two ditches which taken together give a defensive barrier 29m wide. The outer bank stands to a maximum height of 2m. The inner bank which is 6m-7m wide and stands to a maximum height of 1.2m, is carried around the edge of the promontory on the north west side in order to give extra protection to the fort. Further down the slope on the north west there is a terrace feature which continues to the south east side where it runs into the slope. There is an entrance into the fort at the eastern side, protected by a short stretch of rampart.

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


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

Legacy System number: 25186

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11' in A New List of the Native Sites of Northumberland, (1951), 163
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 62
NU 11 NW 11,

End of official listing