Iron Age defended settlement 740m south east of South Middleton


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018067

Date first listed: 18-Mar-1966

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Apr-1998


Ordnance survey map of Iron Age defended settlement 740m south east of South Middleton
© 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: NU 00485 23071


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 Iron Age defended settlement and prehistoric field bank are well preserved and will retain significant archaeological deposits. The monument is situated in a prominent position forming part of a wider archaeological landscape. As such it will make a significant contribution to the study of the wider settlement pattern at this time.


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


The monument includes an Iron Age defended settlement situated on the summit of a prominent hill called Foxes Knoll. The settlement commands a strong position at the east end of the hill with extensive views to the north and east. On the south west side of the settlement, running down the slope of Foxes Knoll and up the side of a neighbouring hill, is a field bank. The Iron Age settlement is formed by a single rampart of earth and stone following the countour of the hill and defines an irregularly shaped enclosure which is afforded good natural defence on the northern and eastern sides. The enclosure, with an annexe on the west side, measures 103m WSW-ENE by 51m north-south. The rampart measures a maximum 3m wide and stands up to 0.5m high except where it is enhanced by the natural hillslope, and stands between 1m and 2m high with stone facing. There is an inturned entrance in the northern side. The interior of the settlement is divided into two areas by a bank and raised platform 0.3m high. The eastern side contains a sub-circular platform 8m in diameter, a scooped area 9m in diameter enclosed by a slight bank and a possible hut circle within the rampart. The western side is a sub-rectangular enclosure with an internal dividing bank and a slightly scooped yard. Further to the west, an annexe occupies the remaining area of the hill defined by a bank 0.3m high. The internal divisions of the settlement have been interpreted in the past as evidence of later, Romano-British occupation. From the south side of the settlement a field bank, believed to be associated with the settlement, runs down the hillside in a south westerly direction and diagonally up the opposite hillside. A sample 64m long has been included in the scheduling; it measures up to 1m wide by 0.5m high and is constructed of facing stones with a rubble core.

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: 29317

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing