Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British enclosed settlement on Holborn Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Asby, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.504 / 54°30'14"N

Longitude: -2.4926 / 2°29'33"W

OS Eastings: 368199.154412

OS Northings: 512184.335236

OS Grid: NY681121

Mapcode National: GBR CJ1C.57

Mapcode Global: WH93C.P280

Entry Name: Romano-British enclosed settlement on Holborn Hill

Scheduled Date: 3 January 1939

Last Amended: 10 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011140

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23633

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Asby

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Asby St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is a Romano-British enclosed settlement located on the summit of
a low eminence known as Holborn Hill. It includes an irregular oval enclosure
wall of turf-covered limestone rubble and earth up to 3.7m wide and 1m high
that has been partly mutilated on its south side by quarrying. On the north
side the enclosure wall has been reduced down to the present ground level in
places but is still visible for much of its length on aerial photographs.
Within the enclosure are numerous irregularly shaped stock pens including one
at the centre which has a 2.3m wide entrance on its south side.
A modern drystone wall running along the north side of the enclosure is
excluded from the scheduling but ground beneath it is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 monument is a good example of a Romano-British enclosed settlement.
Despite mutilation of parts of the enclosure wall the earthworks survive
reasonably well, preserve considerable detail of the layout of the site and
will facilitate further study of Romano-British settlement patterns in the

Source: Historic England


AP , Manchester University,
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)
SMR No. 1751, Cunbria SMR, Village Settlement at Holborn Hill, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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