Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British farmstead on Wood Hill 800m north west of Old Town Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Otterburn, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.2231 / 55°13'23"N

Longitude: -2.1934 / 2°11'36"W

OS Eastings: 387792.355863

OS Northings: 592111.229667

OS Grid: NY877921

Mapcode National: GBR F831.XH

Mapcode Global: WHB0Z.8ZR9

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead on Wood Hill 800m north west of Old Town Cottages

Scheduled Date: 11 September 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009378

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25097

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Otterburn

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Otterburn St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a farmstead of Romano-British date,
situated on a level site on the top of Wood Hill commanding extensive views in
all directions. The farmstead, sub-rectangular in shape, measures a maximum of
48m north-south by 50m east-west, within a broad ditch up to 6m wide and 1m
deep below an inner bank of earth 0.4m high. Outside the ditch there are
traces of a counterscarp bank 2m-3m wide and 0.4m high. There is an entrance
in the east wall of the enclosure; a second entrance in the centre of the
north wall is also considered to be original. Within the farmstead, in the
northern half, there are the remains of three circular stone founded houses
6m, 7m and 8m in diameter, the most easterly one of which has a clear entrance
in its south east side. Attached to the south side of the enclosure there is a
rectangular shaped annexe 45m by 32m bounded by a bank with an outer ditch,
within which there is a single circular house 7m in diameter.

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 on Wood Hill 800m north west of Old Town Cottages 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
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectlinear Settlements of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1960), 36
NY 89 SE 27,

Source: Historic England

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