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Romano-British farmstead and earlier palisaded settlement, 800m SSE of Bridge House

A Scheduled Monument in Wark, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1048 / 55°6'17"N

Longitude: -2.2761 / 2°16'34"W

OS Eastings: 382480.162658

OS Northings: 578965.851564

OS Grid: NY824789

Mapcode National: GBR D9KD.0W

Mapcode Global: WHB1J.0YFG

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead and earlier palisaded settlement, 800m SSE of Bridge House

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1970

Last Amended: 18 October 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008984

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25067

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Wark

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Wark St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a farmstead of Romano-British date
situated on a gentle east facing slope. The farmstead, sub-rectangular in
shape, measures 60m east to west by 44m north to south within a broad stone
wall, on average 3m wide, standing to a maximum height of 0.5m above the
exterior ground level. A stream runs through the eastern side of the enclosure
which has masked the stone perimeter wall and an entrance at this point.
Within the south east corner of the enclosure a large scooped yard is visible
as a sub-circular depression. Immediately behind the yard, to the north and
west, there are the remains of at least five circular stone houses 7m-8m in
diameter, linked by low stone walls. Limited excavation of the farmstead in
1957 by Professor George Jobey revealed that the stone huts contained hearths
and small stone lined storage pits as well as internal stone benches. Other
finds included pieces of quernstone used for the grinding of corn, pieces of
native pottery and nails used in roof construction. Part of a glass pendant
and a glass bead were also discovered. All of these artefacts are thought to
be of first or second century date. Limited excavation outside the farmstead
uncovered a sixth stone house which indicates that the settlement expanded
outside the enclosure walls. It is considered that further remains survive in
this area. The excavations also revealed that before the construction of the
farmstead there had been earlier activity on the site; a stone packed palisade
trench with irregularly placed post holes was discovered running underneath
the south east wall of the later settlement. This has been interpreted as
evidence of an earlier timber settlement. Partial excavations in 1972-3
confirmed the presence of a timber palisade and also revealed the existence of
a timber round house beneath a later stone house. The nature and date of the
stone wall which joins the farmstead at its south east corner is uncertain but
it is thought that it has been placed to take account of the external hut
circle at this point and is likely to be a later field wall.

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.

The farmstead near Bridge House is well-preserved and retains significant
archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of similar Romano-British
settlements in the area and will contribute to any study of the settlement
pattern at this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Charlton, D B, Day, J C, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 5 ser 2' in Bridge House Re-examined, (1974), 33-40
Charlton, D B, Day, J C, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 5 ser 2' in Bridge House Re-examined, (1974), 33-40
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectlinear Settlements of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1960), 1-35
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectlinear Settlements of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1960), 1-35

Source: Historic England

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