Prehistoric enclosures, Bronze Age field system, unenclosed round houses and three cairns NW of Langlee Crags, 900m south of Langlee


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016245

Date first listed: 18-Jun-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Jan-1998


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric enclosures, Bronze Age field system, unenclosed round houses and three cairns NW of Langlee Crags, 900m south of Langlee
© 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: Ilderton


National Grid Reference: NT 96356 22344, NT 96512 22394, NT 96552 22569, NT 96553 22647


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

Reasons for Designation

In the uplands of northern England a wide variety of prehistoric enclosures can be found. These range from relatively large, rectangular enclosures with earth and stone banks, to smaller, irregular areas enclosed by rubble and boulder walls. Most are dated to the Bronze Age, Iron Age or early Romano-British period (2000 BC-AD 200). They were sometimes constructed as stock pens, or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to accommodate animal shelters and hut circles for farmers or herders. The larger regular enclosures tend to be dated towards the beginning. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to other monument classes provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and land use among prehistoric communities. Cairnfields often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone cleared from their surrounding land surface to improve its use for agriculture. However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated. The majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance which began during the Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size, content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period. Unenclosed hut circles settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. The number of houses in a settlement varies between one and twelve. Several settlements have been shown to be associated with organised field plots, the fields being defined by low stony banks or indicated by groups of clearance cairns. Many unenclosed settlements have been shown to date to the Bronze Age but it is also clear that they were still being constructed and used in the Early Iron Age. They provide an important contrast to the various types of enclosed and defended settlements which were also being constructed and used around the same time. Their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. The prehistoric enclosures, Bronze Age field system and unenclosed round houses north west of Langlee Crags are all well preserved and will retain significant archaeological deposits. Their importance is enhanced by their association with each other and their location within an area of clustered sites whose archaeological remains survive well in the northern Cheviots. They form part of a wider archaeological landscape and will provide important information for any study of the land use and settlement patterns in the Cheviots during this period.


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


The monument includes the remains of three irregular enclosures probably of prehistoric date, an extensive field system with lynchets, field plots, field clearance and burial cairns and unenclosed hut circles of Bronze Age date. The monument is located on gently sloping land overlooked by Langlee Crags to the south east; to the north west the ground falls away steeply into the valley of the Harthope Burn. The scheduling is divided into four separate areas. The most northerly enclosure is sub-rectangular in shape and measures approximately 50m by 37m internally. It is enclosed by a bank of earth and stone up to 0.5m high, with a stone kerb visible in places along its outer edge and an entrance in the south west side. The interior has an even surface which is raised about 0.3m above the exterior ground surface. In the north west corner is a hut circle 8m in diameter. A second, irregular, enclosure is situated 15m to the south. It is defined by a bank up to 0.5m high on three sides with kerb stones visible on both the inner and outer faces. On the south side the enclosure is slightly scooped up to 0.75m deep. Fragments of curving banks indicate the remains of up to five hut circles or hut platforms inside and adjacent to this enclosure; two hut circles lie within the enclosure and three outside. Three further fragmentary banks, or lynchets, lie immediately to the east of the enclosure and appear to define a small associated land plot. The ground surface within the plot has a smooth appearance which has been interpreted elsewhere in the Cheviots as an area prepared for cultivation. Two conjoined hut circles, 3m in diameter internally and defined by banks 0.5m high lie 10m south of these plots. The most southerly enclosure lies 65m south of these hut circles and is roughly oval in shape. It is defined by a bank 1.5m wide by 0.5m high with a slightly inturned entrance, 2m wide, in the south side. Around the enclosures and lynchets is an extensive cairnfield. The most southerly part comprises nine cairns and is associated with a single hut circle and lynchet approximately 110m south west of the most southerly enclosure. The intervening area also has a smooth appearance and is interpreted as another area artificially prepared for cultivation through stone clearance. The largest group of cairns lies to the west and south of the two most northerly enclosures and comprises at least 30 cairns. The majority are irregular in shape and are probably field clearance cairns, with dimensions up to 6m diameter and 0.2m to 0.6m high. Within the group are a cluster of about seven cairns which are compact and well formed, with average dimensions of 3.5m diameter by 0.4m high, which are interpreted as possible burial cairns. A third group of 14 cairns lies to the north east of the most northerly enclosure; they are irregular in shape and measure 3m to 5m in diameter and up to 0.5m high. At the most northerly point of this cairn group is a circular platform, 8m in diameter, terraced into the slope on the south west side and enclosed by a bank 1m wide and up to 0.2m high on the remaining sides. The northern edge of the field system is partly delineated by an irregular bank, up to 0.2m high by 1m wide, with stone revetting on the northern edge. To the east of the monument lies a wide, boggy tract of land and on higher ground beyond is a string of three cairns. The most northerly cairn is 6m in diameter by 0.5m high. The central cairn is a probable ring cairn 6m in diameter with an internal kerb visible within the disturbed interior and a bank c.2m wide. The most southerly cairn measures 6m by 5m and stands 0.5m high; it has a slight central depression and is interpreted as a burial cairn.

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: 29331

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing