Fawcett Shank defended settlement, 620m SSE of Fleehope


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014492

Date first listed: 22-May-1996


Ordnance survey map of Fawcett Shank defended settlement, 620m SSE of Fleehope
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Kirknewton


National Grid Reference: NT 88714 23085


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 on Fawcett Shank is a reasonably well preserved example of a northern prehistoric defended settlement. The full circuit of the rampart is still visible despite some robbing to construct a later sheepfold. The interior appears to be largely undisturbed and will retain significant archaeological deposits. The site is situated within an area of broadly contemporary settlements of very high quality and forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. As such it will contribute significantly to our understanding of the organisation and development of land use during this period.


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


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date which is overlain by a modern sheepfold. The defended settlement is situated on the summit of Fawcett Shank, a north-south ridge with steep slopes on the east and west, gently falling ground to the north, and overlooked by West Hill to the south. The extensive views along the valleys of the College Burn to the west and the Lambden Burn to the east are obscured by a modern forestry plantation. The defended settlement is roughly oval in plan, measures externally 62m north-south by 51m east-west and is enclosed by a single stone rampart. The rampart stands up to 0.75m high and is up to 10m wide including tumbled material. Only on the east side is the outer edge of the rampart clearly visible where it consists of large roughly dressed revetting stones, some of which are particularly well finished. The remainder of the rampart is mainly the rubble core. There is a simple gap entrance 2m wide on the east side which is marked on either side by large stones. Against the south east side of the rampart is a platform 3m long by 1.5m wide; this may represent an earlier rampart edge or collapse of the rampart. The interior of the site is largely undisturbed and covered in deep tussocky grass which obscures any internal features apart from those in the south associated with the later sheepfold. The sheepfold overlies the inner edge of the rampart around its full circuit and contains the remains of pens. It is constructed of stone from the rampart. The dry stone walls of the sheepfold are up to 1m wide and stand up to 1.5m high. A stony bank two to three courses high, and probably also associated with the later use of the site, runs south eastwards from the inner western edge of the rampart for 19m.

Around the outside of the rampart on the north side are the foundations of two sub rectangular enclosures or buildings. They are attached to the north side of the rampart and measure 18m long by 6m wide, and 8m long by 6m wide respectively, the latter has a tumbled line of stone running diagonally across the interior. Both sets of foundations are built over the rampart core and indicate a secondary use although their date is unclear.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 24631

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing