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Cow Green Romano-British settlement and medieval shieling

A Scheduled Monument in Crosby Ravensworth, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5025 / 54°30'9"N

Longitude: -2.5943 / 2°35'39"W

OS Eastings: 361612.800286

OS Northings: 512073.560078

OS Grid: NY616120

Mapcode National: GBR BJBC.4R

Mapcode Global: WH93B.33X4

Entry Name: Cow Green Romano-British settlement and medieval shieling

Scheduled Date: 26 October 1938

Last Amended: 2 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007583

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22470

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Crosby Ravensworth

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Crosby Ravensworth St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is Cow Green Romano-British settlement, one of a number of such
sites surrounding the head of the Lyvennet valley, together with a medieval
stone-built shieling of a date later than the abandonment of the part of the
settlement over which it lies. The site lies on a gently sloping north-east
facing hillside immediately above the steep-sided valley of the Lyvennet Beck.
The Romano-British settlement includes turf covered walls up to 3m wide and 1m
high which enclose a series of rectangular and curvilinear fields, some of
which contain smaller enclosures that were stock pens. It is divided into two
groups of enclosures by an access passage to the medieval shieling; the
eastern group includes a circular hut 12m in diameter with adjoining fields
and pens; the western group includes two smaller huts, fields with internal
partitions, and two entrances. The site would have been in use during the
Roman conquest of the north. It lies within an area occupied by the Carvetii
tribe. The medieval shieling consists of a single room measuring 9.1m by 4.8m
internally, with a porch or entrance room at the eastern end 4m square. The
walls are 1.3m thick and are built of limestone slabs set on edge and used as
facing stones.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

In Cumbria and Northumberland several distinctive types of native settlements
dating to the Roman period have been identified. The majority were small, non-
defensive, enclosed homesteads or farms. In many areas they were of stone
construction, although in the coastal lowlands timber-built variants were also
common. In much of Northumberland, especially in the Cheviots, the enclosures
were curvilinear in form. Further south a rectangular form was more common.
Elsewhere, especially near the Scottish border, another type occurs where the
settlement enclosure was `scooped' into the hillslope. Frequently the
enclosures reveal a regularity and similarity of internal layout. The standard
layout included one or more stone round-houses situated towards the rear of
the enclosure, facing the single entranceway. In front of the houses were
pathways and small enclosed yards. Homesteads normally had only one or two
houses, but larger enclosures could contain as many as six. At some sites the
settlement appears to have grown, often with houses spilling out of the main
enclosure and clustered around it. At these sites up to 30 houses may be
found. In the Cumbrian uplands the settlements were of less regimented form
and unenclosed clusters of houses of broadly contemporary date are also known.
These homesteads were being constructed and used by non-Roman natives
throughout the period of the Roman occupation. Their origins lie in settlement
forms developed before the arrival of the Romans. These homesteads are common
throughout the uplands where they frequently survive as well-preserved
earthworks. In lowland coastal areas they were also originally common,
although there they can frequently only be located through aerial photography.
All homestead sites which survive substantially intact will normally be
identified as nationally important.

Cow Green is a good example of a small Romano-British native settlement with
attached fields and enclosures. Its earthworks survive well and preserve much
detail of the layout of the settlement. It is one of a group of similar
settlements at the head of the Lyvennet valley and will contribute to any
study of Romano-British settlement patterns in the north.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Higham, N, Jones, B, The Carvetti, (1985), 132-3
Higham, N, The Northern Counties to AD 1000, (1986), 192
Alcock, L, 'Archaeologia Cambrensis' in Gwyr Y Gogledd, , Vol. CXXXII, (1983), 4
Collingwood, R G, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Prehistoric Settlements in Crosby Ravensworth, (1933), 209-12
Collingwood, R G, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Prehistoric Settlements in Crosby Ravensworth, (1933), 209-12
Ebbatson,L., MPP Single Mon Class Descriptions - Romano-British Farmsteads, (1989)
Schofield,A.J., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Shielings, (1989)
SMR No. 1739, Cumbria SMR, Cow Green British Settlement, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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