HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Brough Law

Hob Uid: 1033854
Location :
Northumberland
Ingram
Grid Ref : NT9985016350
Summary : Brough Law is a massive multivallate hillfort probably dating to the late Iron Age. It has three lines of defense in the form of stone walls and rubble core banks, as well as several entrances. Radiocarbon dating from material excavated from beneath the ramparts suggest the hillfort was built after a date within the range of 335-155BC. Three hut circles within the hillfort were excavated and finds included charred wood and pottery of the Roman period, as well as a knife of possible Early Medieval date. These finds are thought to indicate a phase of occupation later and unrelated to the Iron Age occupation of the hillfort in during in its original form.
More information : [NT 9985 1635] Camp [OE] (1)

The record for the multivallate hillfort on the summit of Brough Law at NT 9985 1635 has been reconstituted. The following report incorporates the relevant sources previously included in the OS record. The old OS record card is available in the NMR archive. The fort is set on the summit of Brough Law at 290 m OD, a site which overlooks a bend in the River Breamish and dominates the surrounding countryside, having extensive panoramic views. Around the immediate N and W are the very steep scree strewn rocky crags known as Ingram Glidders with gentler slopes on the E, whilst to the S is the more easily accessible saddle from Ewe Hill.

The main defence is formed by a massive stone wall, with double outer face, enclosing a sub-circular central area about 68 m E-W by 54 m transversely, some 0.32 ha (0.8 acres) in area, and containing at least three hut circles. Diverging from the main wall in the NE and NW is an outer wall providing a secondary defence around the more vulnerable southern arc. There are staggered entrances through these walls in the E and ESE. Some 40 m due S of the outer wall a third line of defence has been created by a bank with outer causeway ditch cutting across the narrowing neck of the saddle. The inner rampart varies in thickness being about 3.5 m wide in the N and widening to a maximum of 5.5 m at the entrance. Several stretches of its vertical outer face have been revealed by clearing away the collapsed rubble infill, showing the construction of large irregular rectangular stone blocks, standing six courses high in some places with a maximum height of 1.5 m (2.5 m to the top of the rubble core). The double outer faces are generally about 0.8 m apart but reach a maximum of 1.4 m between faces in the S. No evidence was seen of the original inner face of the wall apart from just inside the entrance. Elsewhere what at first glance appears to be the inner face is most probably recent crude attempts at reconstruction. However, the collapse of the rubble core is remarkably sharp around the inside of the wall and therefore the width measurements across it can be reasonably estimated with some accuracy. The entrance gap appears to be splayed being 3.8 m across the inner face and narrowing to about 2.6 m across the outer face. The outer rampart, extensively robbed and not as well preserved as the inner one, has reached a maximum width of some 5 m near the entrance but elsewhere has been much less. In the S, where the two parallel faces are clear, it is 4 m wide, but generally it is only evident as a massive rubble bank 2 m in maximum height and partly
turf-covered in places. There is a 10 m long stretch of outer face about 1.1 m high around the NE, and another 0.7 m high in the NW, but no trace of the inner faces where the walls converge. The entrance is now too obscure for accurate measurement, but is has probably been about 2.5 m wide. In the N and in the WSW are what seem at first glance to be entrances, but the former is apparently an old excavation trench some 10 m long and 2.5 m wide, which would have cut down through all faces of the ramparts, and the latter is a modern `entrance' gap worn down through the rubble.

The third outer line of defence across the more easily approachable S is completely different to the main body of the fort being an outwork composed of an earthen bank, 0.7 m maximum height and 4 m wide, which terminates on outcropping rock in the W and fades out some 90 m further E on the steeper slopes. The ditch on its S side is somewhat shorter in length, 0.5 m deep and 4 m wide. There is a well-defined causeway towards the E end, 0.4 m high and 3.5 m wide, with an
opposing entrance gap in the bank. The ditch ends quite abruptly some 20 m to the E. Unfortunately there is no trace of this earthwork connecting up to the fort but there must be little doubt of it being contemporary.

The NW interior of the fort is slightly domed with much of the area being outcropping rock. There is evidence of three, possibly four, hut circles. The highest is 5 m in diameter within a turf-covered
stone wall, 0.2 m high and 1.5m wide. There are remains of an excavation trench, running E-W across it which has probably destroyed the entrance in the E. There is a modern marker cairn 1.5 m high and 5 m in diameter obscuring the SW side of this hut. Some 25 m to the SW is another hut, also 5 m in diameter within a boulder wall 0.5 m high and 1.7 m maximum width. It is very mutilated, probably by excavation and robbing and has debris dumped in the centre. There is a possible entrance in the NE. The third hut lies between the other two and is not so well defined. It has a diameter of 8.8 m inside a turf-covered stone wall 0.2 m high and 1.2 m wide. The entrance would probably have been in the SW where there is a break in the wall. Some 20 m W of the main enclosure entrance set up against an outcrop of rock is the possible site of another hut, which is 5 m in diameter inside a turf-covered stone wall 0.2 m high and 1.2 m wide.

There is a break in the S, possibly an entrance but the whole is too ill-defined to be certain. About 10 m N of this hut circle are the indeterminate remains of an L-shaped wall about 6.5 m long
surmounting the outcropping rock. Set into the rubble of the inner wall in the S is what at first appears to be another hut, but this is probably no more than a semi-circular feature created from debris cleared out of the rubble, possibly following an unsuccessful search for an inner face of the rampart.

Between the two ramparts are several apparent `cross walls' dividing the area up into two or three roughly rectangular compartments. Similar features appear on the outside of the outer rampart in the S as well as elsewhere amongst the rampart debris around the fort. Excavation by Jobey in 1971 (2h) suggests that these are not contemporary with the fort and it is probable that they are all later constructions, possibly animal pens built out of rubble. On the NNE side outside the fort, below the spread of rubble, is a flat plateau area, approximately 50 m E-W by 20 m transversely, cleared of stones. It is edged on its E side by a low turf-covered stone wall 0.3 m high and 2 m wide emerging from the base of the tumble and running in a NNE direction to the edge of the plateau where it ends on a rocky escarpment. This escarpment may have been enhanced by scarping around to the W forming the edge of the plateau which could be natural, but may be associated with the fort. There is a short length of wall about 20 m long, 0.3 m high and 2 m wide running W from the base of the tumble in the W. Just to the N of the entrance to the second rampart in the SE, a similar but more clearly defined wall [NT 9916/33] 0.4 m in maximum height and spread to about 2.7 m, runs down the slopes to the SE. These walls may be contemporary with the fort, the field system to the NE of it [NT 9916/32], or the settlements further down the hill to the E [NU 0016/3 and 4].

Excavations of three hut circles within the camp (2a) revealed charred wood, fragments of pottery, later identified as possibly Votadinian (0-700 AD), and also 2nd c Roman, and an iron knife, subsequently considered to be Saxon (2b). The site was examined in the field and fully described by OS Archaeology Division Field Investigations on 09-Apr-57 (2c), 15-Apr-57 (2d), 14-Oct-69 (2e) when the existing 1:2500 survey was revised, and finally on 24-Nov-76 (2f). Jobey (2g) listed the site under pre-Roman IA multivallate, (forts, settlements and enclosures) with an overlying settlement of round stone huts. It was partly excavated by Jobey in 1971; radiocarbon tests on material collected form beneath the rampart yielded a date of 245 BC +/- 90 (2h). (2)

NT 998 164. Brough Law. Listed in a gazetteer of British hillforts as a multivallate structure enclosing 0.25ha. (3)

NT 999 164. Enclosure(s) on Brough Law. Scheduled No ND/180. (4)

[NT 9985 1635] Fort [NR] (5)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : OS 6-inch map 1957, Prov
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Iain Sainsbury/01-APR-1986/RCHME: SE Cheviots Project
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : British Hillforts: an index
Source details :
Page(s) : 122
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : English Heritage SAM List Northumbs March 1994 23
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : OS 1:10000 1978
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : SE Cheviots/NT 9916/numbers overlay
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : SE Cheviots/NT 9612/numbers overlay
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : SE Cheviots/NT 9612/ink
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : SE Cheviots/NT 9916/ink
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Tate G, Hist Berwick Naturalists Field Club, 4, 1856-62, 304-5
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2b
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Richmond I A, Archaeol Aeliana 4 ser, 20, 1942, 123-4, 132, fig
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2c
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : AS Phillips/09-APR-1957/OS Archaeology Division Field Investigation
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2d
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : E Geary/15-APR-1957/OS Archaeology Division Field Investigation
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2e
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : D Smith/14-OCT-1969/OS Archaeology Division Field Investigation
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2f
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Iain Sainsbury/24-NOV-1976/OS Archaeology Division Field Investigation
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2g
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Jobey G, Archaeol Aeliana 4 ser, 43, 1965, 61, no 34, plan.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2h
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Jobey G, Archaeol Aeliana 4 ser, 49, 1971, 73-85, plan photo
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Multivallate Hillfort
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Hut Circle
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Excavated Feature, Find
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Early Medieval
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find, Conjectural Evidence

Components and Objects:
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Hut Circle
Object Type : POT
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Early Medieval
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : KNIFE
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 180d
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SE Cheviots Project Number
External Cross Reference Number : NT 9916/31
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NT 91 NE 29
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, BROUGH LAW
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1861-01-01
End Date : 1861-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BROUGH LAW
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1970-01-01
End Date : 1970-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: SE CHEVIOTS PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1984-03-19
End Date : 1989-07-19