Ancient Monuments

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Leafield Edge medieval settlement and field system

A Scheduled Monument in Alnham, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4142 / 55°24'51"N

Longitude: -2.021 / 2°1'15"W

OS Eastings: 398766.041181

OS Northings: 613365.629987

OS Grid: NT987133

Mapcode National: GBR G5BT.7Z

Mapcode Global: WHB08.X5SQ

Entry Name: Leafield Edge medieval settlement and field system

Scheduled Date: 4 June 1984

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006416

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 646

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Alnham

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of an upland deserted medieval village and an associated field system situated on north east facing slopes centred on the Leafield Burn. The remains of the village are situated at the western edge of the field system and include the remains of at least nine rectangular buildings, visible as slight earthworks and low turf-covered walls which vary in height from 0.1m to 0.7m. The rectangular buildings are associated with a series of rectangular and sub-rectangular enclosures surrounded by 0.4m high stony banks. The interior of the rectangular buildings are divided by internal compartments and cross passages and are interpreted as houses. Alongside the houses are several buildings without internal divisions and with narrower walls; these are considered to be associated barns. Associated with the village is an extensive and contemporary field system visible as areas of medieval ridge and furrow laid out into clearly recognisable fields. The whole of the field system and most of the village is surrounded by a head dyke visible as a stony bank approximately 0.5m high and 3.1m wide. The presence of the head dyke indicates that the full extent of the field system associated with the village is present.

PastScape Monument No:- 1033842
NMR:- NT91SE31
Northumberland HER:- 1360

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Cheviot sub-Province of the Northern and Western Province, the upland mass straddling the English-Scottish border. The sub-Province has not been sub-divided and forms a single local region. Settlement is now largely absent, but the area is characterised by the remains of linear
dykes, field boundaries, cultivation terraces and buildings which bear witness to the advance and retreat of farming, both cultivation and stock production, over several thousand years. The distinctive, difficult upland environment means that many of the medieval settlement sites relate to specialist
enterprises, once closely linked to settlement located in the adjacent lowlands, such as shielings, but the extensive remains of medieval arable farming raise many unanswered questions about medieval land use and settlement, touching economic, climatic and population change.
Leafield Edge medieval settlement is well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is a form of settlement which characterises the area is therefore an important example of settlement diversity in England. Additionally, the presence of an associated field system enhances the importance of the monument, which will contribute greatly to our understanding of land use and settlement in the uplands at this time.

Source: Historic England

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