Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British farmstead and later steadings, 800m NNW of Ferneyrigg

A Scheduled Monument in Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1523 / 55°9'8"N

Longitude: -2.0725 / 2°4'21"W

OS Eastings: 395474.812601

OS Northings: 584223.963738

OS Grid: NY954842

Mapcode National: GBR F8ZV.3V

Mapcode Global: WHB1F.4RBJ

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead and later steadings, 800m NNW of Ferneyrigg

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1961

Last Amended: 13 May 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009108

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20999

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirkwhelpington

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirkwhelpington with Kirkharle and Kirkheaton

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a farmstead of Romano-British date
situated on a natural rise near the confluence of the Middlerigg and the Ray
burns. Remains of later steadings are also included as they lie within and
immediately outside the earlier farmstead. The enclosure is roughly square in
shape and measures a maximum of 44m east-west by 43m north-south within a
stony bank up to 1.5m wide and 0.8m high. The south-east angle of the rampart
is much denuded but is traceable as a low stony spread. Within the enclosure
there is one rectangular building steading situated against the western
rampart; it measures 7m by 4m. Almost immediately outside the
enclosure to the south there are further remains of rectangular building
steadings where two contiguous rectangular enclosures are visible. The long
axis of these steadings lie parallel to the bank enclosing the farmstead.
They are of similar size to the steading within the farmstead. In the
north east corner of the enclosure there are the remains of a very much later
sheep fold. There is an entrance in the south west corner of the farmstead.
The presence of the rectangular building steadings indicates a later medieval
reuse of the prehistoric enclosure. This medieval settlement was probably
associated with the medieval field system, visible as rig and furrow
earthworks, which surrounds the farmstead.

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 NNW of Ferneyrigg survives well; it is one of a group of
similar settlements in the area and will contribute to any study of the
settlement pattern at this time. The reuse of the farmstead in the medieval
period is of additional interest. Small medieval farmsteads are difficult to
identify; many have been destroyed by continued use of individual sites. This
is a good example of a deserted farmstead.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11, (1946), 171

Source: Historic England

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