Ancient Monuments

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Twist Castle Romano-British farmstead

A Scheduled Monument in Briercliffe, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.7995 / 53°47'58"N

Longitude: -2.1705 / 2°10'13"W

OS Eastings: 388864.007356

OS Northings: 433699.735522

OS Grid: SD888336

Mapcode National: GBR FS8H.WQ

Mapcode Global: WHB7Y.MRMM

Entry Name: Twist Castle Romano-British farmstead

Scheduled Date: 29 May 1952

Last Amended: 14 October 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009497

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23750

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Briercliffe

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire


The monument includes a Romano-British farmstead located on the western end of
Twist Hill from where it commands extensive views in all directions except the
east. It includes an earth and stone bank or rampart up to 3m wide and 1m high
which encloses an area measuring approximately 44m by 40m. Beyond this bank
there would have been an outer ditch but this has gradually infilled and now
shows few surface traces. There is an entrance measuring c.2.5m wide into the
enclosure at the centre of the eastern side. Attached to the south eastern
side of the enclosure, immediately to the south of this entrance, is an annexe
measuring approximately 18m square with an earth and stone enclosure wall up
to 2m wide by 0.3m high.
A bronze coin of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180) was reportedly
found here in 1888.

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.

Twist Castle Romano-British farmstead survives reasonably well and remains
unencumbered by modern development. It is broadly similar to examples further
north in Cumbria and Northumberland. It is one of four such monuments in the
vicinity, each displaying slight differences in plan, and will contribute to
any study of Romano-British native settlement patterns in Lancashire and the
north of England.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Trans Lancs & Chesh Antiq Soc' in Proceedings-Stone Circles and Ancient Relicts at Extwistle, , Vol. II, (1893), 189
FMW Report, Capstick, B, Twist Castle, (1990)
SMR No. 253, Lancs SMR, Twist Castle, Burnley, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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