Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British farmstead 330m west of Rattenraw Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Rochester, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.2501 / 55°15'0"N

Longitude: -2.242 / 2°14'31"W

OS Eastings: 384711.035109

OS Northings: 595132.895697

OS Grid: NY847951

Mapcode National: GBR D7SQ.DS

Mapcode Global: WHB0Y.J9LH

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead 330m west of Rattenraw Farm

Scheduled Date: 5 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008994

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25082

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Rochester

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Horsley with Byrness

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a farmstead of Romano-British date
situated on a south facing slope immediately above the Rattenraw Burn. The
farmstead, sub-rectangular in shape, measures 40m north west to south east by
30m north east to south west within a bank of stone and earth 4m-5m wide and a
maximum of 1.5m deep. There is an entrance 2m wide in the south east side of
the enclosure. Within the enclosure, two sunken yards placed either side of
the entrance, are visible as large rectangular depressions. Facing onto these
yards, at the rear of the enclosure, there are three stone-founded houses, two
are 6m in diameter while the third, and largest, is 8m in diameter; all have
south east facing entrances. Some 5m outside the enclosure to the east there
are the remains of up to four stone-founded huts, each with a diameter ranging
from 6m to 9m and an entrance in the south east side. An irregularly shaped
enclosure 24m by 20m is situated at the eastern end of this small complex of
external houses. Traces of a rectangular enclosure containing all of these
external features have been identified as a low earthen bank with an entrance
through its south wall. These features are considered to be contemporary with
the main use of the settlement and indicate that the settlement expanded to
the east.

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 at Rattenraw is very 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, In Search of Early Man in the North38
Charlton, D B, Day, J C, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 5 ser 6' in Excavation and Field Survey in Upper Redesdale, (1977), 83 & 85
NY 89 NW 12,

Source: Historic England

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