Ancient Monuments

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Settlement north west of Ell's Knowe

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5454 / 55°32'43"N

Longitude: -2.2072 / 2°12'25"W

OS Eastings: 387025.295588

OS Northings: 627983.694323

OS Grid: NT870279

Mapcode National: GBR F409.YY

Mapcode Global: WH9ZF.2W76

Entry Name: Settlement north west of Ell's Knowe

Scheduled Date: 5 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008478

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24578

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirknewton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a Roman period native farmstead situated on a north
west facing slope overlooking the Elsdon Burn. The roughly circular enclosure
has been scooped into the uphill slope to create a level platform suitable for
buildings and is enclosed by an earth and stone bank.
The bank encloses an area which measures 7.8m north-south and 9.7 east-west.
It varies in height from 1.5m on the uphill side to 0.7m on the north side.
The bank has an average width of 5m.
The entrance into the interior of the enclosure is situated on the north west
side and measures 1.7m wide. Several large upstanding stones survive on
either side of the entrance.
A hut circle is located on the west side of the enclosure. The enclosure bank
runs in front of the hut circle with the rear of the hut circle projecting
outside the enclosure. The hut circle measures 8.5m north-south by 6.5m east-
Its entrance is located on the west side, facing into the enclosure.
The whole monument, including the hut circle measures 20m north-south by 22m

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.

This site north west of Ell's Knowe is a good example of a Roman period native
farmstead. It is in good condition and is relatively intact. Its proximity to
a number of other broadly contemporary settlements demonstrates well the
organisation and development of land use during this period.

Source: Historic England

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