Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Roman period native farmstead 550m south west of Trowupburn Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5275 / 55°31'39"N

Longitude: -2.2019 / 2°12'6"W

OS Eastings: 387351.183033

OS Northings: 625995.883782

OS Grid: NT873259

Mapcode National: GBR F42J.2C

Mapcode Global: WH9ZM.4BQC

Entry Name: Roman period native farmstead 550m SW of Trowupburn Farm

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1973

Last Amended: 23 June 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009528

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24580

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirknewton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


This monument includes a native settlement dating to the Roman period. It
consists of a sub-circular enclosure contained within an earth and stone bank
and partially scooped into the hillside. The interior contains a raised, level
platform of earth on which the dwelling would have been constructed.
The monument is situated approximately one third of the way up the northern
slope of Loft Hill. The ground slopes away sharply to the north and east,
affording a clear view along the Trowup Burn. The farmstead comprises a
sub-circular area of 35m by 34m enclosed by a single bank of stone and earth
up to 5m wide and 0.7m high. A short section of quarry ditch, up to 2m wide
and 0.5m deep, surrounds the bank to the south. The interior is scooped into
the hillside on the south side to a depth of c.2.5m. The level surface
provided by the scooping is further extended by the addition of a raised earth
platform. The platform covers the southern one third of the interior and
stands up to 0.75m high, the surface of this platform appears undisturbed and
may have held the timber foundations of prehistoric buildings.
A post and wire fence runs along the west edge of the site. This is excluded
from the scheduling although the ground beneath it is included.

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 enclosure south west of Trowupburn is a well preserved example of a Roman
period native farmstead. The exterior bank, interior scoop and building
platform are all clearly visible. The site is situated within an area of
clustered archaeological sites of high quality and forms part of a wider
archaeological landscape. It will contribute significantly to the study of the
wider settlement pattern of this period.

Source: Historic England

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