Kippy Heugh defended settlement


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014502

Date first listed: 01-Jul-1996


Ordnance survey map of Kippy Heugh defended settlement
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1014502 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 18-Jan-2019 at 16:24:28.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Easington

National Grid Reference: NU 12615 34667


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.

Kippy Heugh defended settlement is a reasonably well preserved example of a northern prehistoric defended settlement. The full circuit of the outer defensive bank, and remains of internal features are clearly visible. The site is one of a cluster of broadly contemporary sites occupying similar positions along the coastline and, as such, forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. It will contribute to the study of the wider settlement pattern during this period.


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


The monument includes a defended settlement of a type normally attributed to the Early Iron Age in northern Britain. The site is one of several defended settlements in the immediate area which occupy naturally defensive positions on crags close to the sea. It is enclosed within a stone faced bank which exploits the naturally defensive line of the outcropping crags. Within the interior are the remains of at least one prehistoric building and a number of dividing walls. The remains of a track extend from the entrance, southwards, towards lower ground. The site is located on the top of a level plateau surrounded by crags. It commands extensive views to the north, east and west but is overlooked by higher crags to the south. The settlement occupies a roughly oval shape with internal measurements of 78m east-west by 36m north-south. It is enclosed by an external bank on the north, west and east sides, the southern edge is formed by the outcropping crags. The bank follows the line of the crags, it is up to 3m wide and 0.5m high with roughly dressed facing stones clearly visible along lengths of the external face. The bank widens to form broad horns, up to 5m wide, at the entrance, which is in the eastern side. A slight ditch, up to 2.5m wide, runs parallel to the inner face of the northern and western banks, this may represent a quarry ditch from which material was obtained for the construction of the outer bank. The interior of the settlement contains the circular stone foundations of a prehistoric building with an internal diameter of 5m. A number of low, stone faced banks form the remains of at least two enclosed areas, or courtyards, within the interior. A broad low bank extends southwards from the circular building. A second bank, 8m long and 1m wide, runs parallel to this bank at a distance of c.18m to the east. A third bank is attached to the northern edge of the circular building and extends east-west for a length of 37m. A hollow track, 4m wide, is visible at the east entrance to the enclosure. This extends southwards for a distance of 35m. Beyond this it joins with a modern track which leads to the lower ground to the south. The track is defined on the west side by a bank, 5m wide and up to 0.8m high, which runs parallel to the edge of the crag. A brick built water tank occupies part of the south west corner of the settlement, this is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath it is included.

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: 24636

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, , Vol. 4ser 43, (1965), 63

End of official listing