The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Shackleton Beacon



"Probably the best example of an Iron Age hill-fort within County Durham. The site is first recorded in 1794 by the antiquarian Hutchinson. In 1905 the Victoria County History described the site as follows 'Hill fort on Shackerton (sic) Hill, Heighington. Much obscured by timber growth and other causes, parts have been mutilated by a road to the windmill which once stood on the hill and other portions were destroyed in C18. There is an unusual lunar-shaped extension of the two outer banks on the northeast side. The earthworks are in a strong natural defensive position' (Victoria County History, 1905, vol. 1, pp. 349-50). The defences follow the natural contour of the hill which slopes from northeast to southwest. The banks at the top of the slope average 2.5m in height, and they decrease in strength and size to the lower banks just above the disused quarry, where they are no more than 0.2m high. The two banks on the northeast side are 5m wide and 1m in height, with a ditch of similar proportions dividing them. The only possible entrance is at grid reference NZ22972326 where a causeway is visible over the ditches. It may be partially modern, for a footpath to the old windmill inside the fort utilises the causeway. All the other sides of the hill are of a rather steep nature (NZ22SW4, Ordnance Survey Record Card, 1953). The old windmill site within the fort at the peak of the hill was also used at some point as a belvedere or folly. This was constructed by a member of the Surtees family, owners of nearby Redworth Hall. There has been some debate regarding the date of the hillfort earthworks with the conjecture being put forward that they are entirely or partially a fake created by Crozier Surtees in the late 18th century. Informed debate would indicate that this is not the case and the fort is genuine although possibly altered during the construction of the gazebo in the late 18th century(Hutchinson. 1794. Volume III, page 205)." (County Durham Sites & Monuments Register) TomBo Posted by TomBo
14th August 2003ce

Comments (1)

The fort and windmill are on maps before Redworth Hall was built.
The site was called Shackerton Hill in the Duke of Northumberlands Map (book) of Watling Street and nearby Roman and Ancient sites.
Posted by Colintu
28th June 2011ce
You must be logged in to add a comment