South Middleton Moor

Has been described as a Rejected Timber Castle (Motte Ringwork)

There are earthwork remains

NameSouth Middleton Moor
Alternative NamesMiddleton Dean
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishIlderton

The Iron Age promontory fort 330m south east of Middleton Dean survives in good condition and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a number of archaeological sites on and around Dod Hill which, taken together, will contribute to the study of prehistoric settlement in this area.

The monument includes the remains of a promontory fort of Iron Age date situated on the edge of a terrace above Southmiddleton Dean. There are steep slopes on the north and east sides and artifical defences have been built around the south and west. The fort is overlooked by Dod Hill to the south but commands extensive views to the north. The interior of the fort contains evidence of habitation in the form of hut circles as well as secondary use in the form of sheep pens. The fort measures 115m north west to south east by 50m south west to north east. The artifical defences comprise a well preserved rampart and ditch. The rampart is built of earth and stone and measures 5m wide and stands up to 2.5m high. The external ditch measures 8m wide by 3m deep from the top of the rampart. In addition, in places there is a slight outer bank 2m wide by 0.2m high formed from ditch upcast material. At the north western end of the defences there is a causewayed entrance 1.5m wide. Within the fort are the remains of two hut circles and an internal dividing bank which forms a smaller enclosure at the north western end. Built against and over the rampart are two rectangular foundations which are interpreted as later sheep pens. The adjacent prehistoric and medieval sites are the subject of separate schedulings. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Hunter Blair writes "Distinct traces of a mound and bailey castles are to be seen, place at right angles between the Lilburn and a small tributary in a triangle formed before they join. The mound is at the north-west corner with the bailey lying to the north-east. Nothing is known of its history." Long writes 'Not far from the hall the remains of a Motte and Bailey can be seen.' King locates at NT998219 writes 'Identified as ringwork and bailey in 1944'. Rejected by King as a robbed cairn with minor enclosure appended. Mark as 'fort' on OS map. This is the site identified by Jackson as NT92SE53 but is, in fact, NT92SE41. Described by PastScape as an Iron Age promontory fort.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNT997219
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Jackson, M.J.,1992, Castles of Northumbria (Carlisle) p. 140 (gives wrong NMR number)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 362 (reject)
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 126


  • Hunter Blair, C.H., 1944, 'The Early Castles of Northumberland' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 22 p. 116-70 esp 165 (plan)


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk North East Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 30 (new entry) online copy
  • 'An Iron Age hillfort at Middleton Dean, Northumberland' English Heritage Archaeological Investigation Report Series AI\4\2004