Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Romano-British farmstead 570m west of Woolaw

A Scheduled Monument in Rochester, Northumberland

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 55.2799 / 55°16'47"N

Longitude: -2.2926 / 2°17'33"W

OS Eastings: 381510.976042

OS Northings: 598451.327164

OS Grid: NY815984

Mapcode National: GBR D7FD.G4

Mapcode Global: WH8ZL.RKH7

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead 570m west of Woolaw

Scheduled Date: 18 June 1968

Last Amended: 10 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009373

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25088

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 local knoll overlooking the valley of the River Rede. The
farmstead, sub rectangular in shape, measures a maximum of 37m north to south
by 39m east to west, within a broad bank of stone and earth 2m-3m wide
standing to a height of 0.9m above the exterior ground level. Within the
farmstead two sunken yards, visible as irregular depressions, lie in the
eastern part; each is reached through an entrance placed in the east wall of
the farmstead. Fronting onto these yards are the remains of four stone-founded
circular houses ranging in size from 4m to 7m in diameter, each yard serving a
pair of houses. The houses are unusually placed in linear fashion across the
centre of the farmstead. During partial excavation in 1977 the area of the
south eastern gateway was shown to be paved with stone slabs, which continued
as a path across the sunken yards in the direction of the houses. The
remainder of the yard was paved with small tightly packed cobbles. Excavation
also uncovered a narrow ditch, presumably dug for drainage purposes, running
parallel to the south wall of the farmstead. A similar ditch, 2m-3m wide, is
visible around the western wall of the farmstead. During the excavations,
pieces of native pottery, part of a glass bangle, a jet bead and parts of a
quern stone used for the grinding of corn were uncovered. There is a hollow
way running parallel with the north wall of the settlement; this was used as a
route in medieval times between the villages of Burdhope and Evistones but it
is thought that its origins may lie in an earlier Romano-British route reused
in the medieval period.

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 Woolaw 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
Wake, T, The Victoria History of the County of Northumberland: Volume XV, (1940), 77
Charlton, D B, Day, J C, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 5 ser 6' in Excavation and Field Survey in Upper Redesdale, (1978), 62-72
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 2' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 2, (1947), 166
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectlinear Settlements of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1960), 36
acc no 1978.18, Museum of Antiquities Newcastle, (1978)
NY 89 NW 05,

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.