Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British farmstead and associated annexe, 180m SSE of Herpath House

A Scheduled Monument in Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1623 / 55°9'44"N

Longitude: -2.028 / 2°1'40"W

OS Eastings: 398310.565986

OS Northings: 585330.160416

OS Grid: NY983853

Mapcode National: GBR G88R.Q8

Mapcode Global: WHB1F.THGW

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead and associated annexe, 180m SSE of Herpath House

Scheduled Date: 15 May 1963

Last Amended: 1 December 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011113

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21009

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 Romano-British farmstead with an annexe
attached to its western side occupying the summit of a flat promontory. The
farmstead, roughly square in shape, measures a maximum of 50m east-west by 40m
north-south within a broad shallow ditch 5m wide. Immediately to its west, and
separated from it by a ditch 4.5m wide, is a roughly square annexe which
measures 35m by 30m. With the exception of the south-west corner of the annexe
the earthworks defining this monument have been levelled and spread by former
ploughing but the ditch is still visible as a slight depression. Throughout
most of its course this depression is shallow, however at the south-west
corner of the annexe it survives as a substantial feature 5m wide and 1m deep.
While infilled elsewhere, the profile of the ditch will still survive as a
buried feature. Inside the ditch a single bank or rampart has been levelled in
recent years except at the south-west angle where it is visible as an earthen
bank rising 0.5m above the bottom of the ditch.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 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.

Despite the denuded state of the monument the farmstead at Herpath House
retains significant archaeological deposits. The adjoining annexe is an
unusual feature. It is also one of a group of native prehistoric settlements
in the vicinity which will contribute to study of the wider settlement pattern
at this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11, (1947), 171
NY 98 NE 15,

Source: Historic England

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