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Romano-British farmstead, hut-circle and co-axial field system 1.3km north-west of Ferneyrigg

A Scheduled Monument in Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1547 / 55°9'16"N

Longitude: -2.0784 / 2°4'42"W

OS Eastings: 395098.617225

OS Northings: 584482.433304

OS Grid: NY950844

Mapcode National: GBR F8XV.T0

Mapcode Global: WHB1F.1PJQ

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead, hut-circle and co-axial field system 1.3km north-west of Ferneyrigg

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1961

Last Amended: 1 December 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011103

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20998

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirkwhelpington

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirkwhelpington with Kirkharle and Kirkheaton

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a farmstead, associated field system and
a hut-circle situated on a gently sloping south facing spur. The farmstead is
rectangular in shape with rounded corners and measures a maximum of 48m by 35m
within pronounced double earth and stone ramparts and a medial ditch. The
ditch is 7m wide and has a broad inner rampart which rises 2.5 above the
bottom of the ditch and 0.5m above the inside level of the farmstead. Outside
the ditch there is a second rampart, 5m broad, which rises 1.2m above the
bottom of the ditch and 0.6m above the external ground level. An entrance 8m
wide is situated in the centre of the south wall. Within the enclosure, there
are the foundations of two circular houses; the first is particularly well
preserved; it is constructed of large stones and has a diameter of 7.5m. There
are traces of an associated yard attached to its eastern side. The second is
6m in diameter and is situated against the north wall of the farmstead. A low
bank emanates from its south-east corner and runs the length of the enclosure.
Outside the enclosure at a distance of 22m to the east there is a third
circular house 8m in diameter. The walls survive to a height of 1m and there
is a clear south facing entrance with the low walls of a forecourt around the
Surrounding the settlement there is a fragment of the associated field system;
this comprises a series of stone walls, emanating from all but the north-east
corner of the farmstead, and running in a northerly, easterly and westerly
direction. The banks are on average 0.5m high and 2m broad. At least one field
is defined by two of the walls immediately south of the farmstead; this plot,
orientated north-south is roughly 60m by 80m. An arc of small clearance cairns
also to the south of the farmstead may be of recent origin, as may be a more
substantial cairn situated 35m west of the farmstead. The hut circle which
lies outside the enclosure suggests that there may have been an earlier phase
of unenclosed settlement on the site and thus more than one phase of activity
is represented by the remains.

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 NW of Ferneyrigg is well preserved and is unusual in retaining
evidence for its associated field system. The settlement exhibits more than
one phase of activity and will contribute to any study of the wider settlement
pattern at this time.

Source: Historic England



Source: Historic England

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