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Defended settlement and Romano-British settlement, 400m south east of Smalesmouth Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Falstone, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.163 / 55°9'46"N

Longitude: -2.4196 / 2°25'10"W

OS Eastings: 373366.879298

OS Northings: 585488.23798

OS Grid: NY733854

Mapcode National: GBR C8JR.Z0

Mapcode Global: WH903.TH0B

Entry Name: Defended settlement and Romano-British settlement, 400m south east of Smalesmouth Farm

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1962

Last Amended: 12 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010043

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25128

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Falstone

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Falstone with Greystead and Thorneyburn

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a settlement of Romano-British date,
constructed within an earlier Iron Age defended settlement, situated on the
north east facing slope of a local hill. The Romano-British settlement,
roughly rectangular in shape, measures a maximum of 45m east to west by 52m
north to south within the remains of a collapsed stone wall, now much denuded
and visible as a scarp on all sides. There is an entrance into the enclosure
in its eastern side carried into the interior on a raised causeway. Either
side of this causeway there is a large sunken yard visible as a scooped
depression. Beyond the yards, but fronting onto them, there are the
foundations of at least two circular houses 5m-6m in diameter. Immediately
outside the south east corner of this enclosure there are the remains of a
third circular house. The Romano-British enclosure is situated within an
earlier enclosure defined by two ramparts and a ditch. This enclosure is
rectangular in shape and measures a maximum of 77m east to west by 75m north
to south within an inner rampart of stone and earth on average 2m to 3m wide
and standing to a maximum height of 1m. Outside the inner rampart there is a
broad very well defined ditch 4m to 6m wide and surviving to a maximum depth
of 1.6m. The outer rampart is 3m to 5m wide and stands to a maximum height of
1m. There are two opposing entrances 4m wide in the centres of the east and
west walls.
Immediately within the west entrance there is a ditched causeway which
continues for some 15m towards the centre of the enclosure. The area
immediately to the north west of the eastern entrance has been masked by the
construction of a secondary enclosure flanking one side of the entrance.
The plantation fence line which crosses the monument from east to west is
excluded from the scheduling but 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.

During the later prehistoric period a variety of different types of defensive
settlements were constructed and occupied in the northern uplands of England.
The most obvious sites were hillforts built in prominent locations. In
addition to these a range of smaller sites, sometimes with an enclosed area of
less than 1ha and defined as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some
of these were located on hill tops, others are found in less prominent
positions. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction, some sites
having a single bank and ditch (univallate), others having more than one
(multivallate). At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase
of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Within the
enclosure a number of stone- or timber-built round houses were occupied by the
inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept in these houses, especially during
the cold winter months, or in enclosed yards outside them. The communities
occupying these sites were probably single family groups, the defended
settlements being used as farmsteads. Defended settlements are a rare monument
type. They were an important element of the later prehistoric settlement
pattern of the northern uplands and are important for any study of the
developing use of fortified settlements during this period. All well preserved
examples are believed to be of national importance.
The two settlements near Smalesmouth are very well preserved and retain
significant archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is
enhanced by the relationships which are preserved between the two settlements.
They will contribute greatly to any study of the settlement pattern during the
late prehistoric and Romano-British period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
MacLaughlan, H, Additional Notes on Roman Roads in Northumberland, (1867), 69
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectilinear Sites of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1961), 371-3
NY 78 NW 08,

Source: Historic England

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