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Three Romano-British settlements, an irregular aggregate field system, and a bowl barrow on Aughertree Fell

A Scheduled Monument in Ireby and Uldale, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.7314 / 54°43'52"N

Longitude: -3.146 / 3°8'45"W

OS Eastings: 326301.992779

OS Northings: 537976.677669

OS Grid: NY263379

Mapcode National: GBR 6FGQ.PQ

Mapcode Global: WH6ZM.NB4Q

Entry Name: Three Romano-British settlements, an irregular aggregate field system, and a bowl barrow on Aughertree Fell

Scheduled Date: 15 July 1966

Last Amended: 4 August 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013392

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27652

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Ireby and Uldale

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Binsey Team

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes three Romano-British settlements, an associated
irregular aggregate field system, and a bowl barrow located on the
north facing slope of Aughertree Fell. The settlements include well preserved
upstanding earthworks, whereas the field system has been identified from a
combination of earthworks and cropmarks visible on aerial photographs which
clearly show linear features such as infilled ditches. The bowl barrow
survives as an earthwork and is one of three well preserved surviving examples
on Aughertree Fell.
The eastern of the three Romano-British settlement enclosures is the best
preserved. It is sub-circular in plan and is defended by outer and inner earth
and stone banks up to 1m high separated by a ditch up to 1m deep. Internally
the settlement encloses an area of approximately 0.4ha and it is subdivided by
a series of earth and stone banks into small enclosures or stock pens with
faint traces of a hut circle situated a little north of centre and others
built against the main enclosure wall. The entrance to the settlement is on
the south east side and it is approached by a 15m wide banked and ditched
droveway traceable for 300m running through the aggregate field system. The
central of the three settlement enclosures is rectangular with rounded corners
on three sides and encloses an area of approximately 0.35ha. It is defended by
outer and inner earth and stone banks up to 1.3m high separated by a ditch up
to 7m wide and 1m deep. There is an entrance on the east side with a causeway
across the ditch. Internally there are faint traces of a rectangular enclosure
thought to be a stock pen in the north east corner. The western of the three
settlement enclosures, like its two counterparts, is defended by outer and
inner earth and stone banks up to 1m high separated by a 3m wide ditch. It is
sub-circular in plan and encloses an area measuring approximately 0.3ha.
Internally there are two small enclosures or stock pens at the south east side
and faint traces of two hut circles at the south west side. There are
entrances on the south and west sides. The associated field system is visible
as a combination of extensive and very pronounced earthwork banks interpreted
as field boundaries, and more discreet field boundaries identifiable on aerial
photographs. There are three large sub-rectangular fields to the east of the
eastern settlement and its associated droveway, two other large fields to the
south of the settlements, and a whole series of linear features, some of which
connect the settlements and indicate smaller field plots. Approximately 90m to
the north east of the western settlement there is flat topped, oval shaped
bowl barrow measuring 15m by 13m and up to 1.5m high.
All modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling but the ground
beneath them 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 irregular aggregate field system is one of several methods of field layout
known to have been employed from the Bronze Age to the Roman period (c.2000 BC
-AD 400). It comprises a collection of field plots, generally lacking
conformity of orientation and arrangement, containing fields of various shapes
and sizes, bounded by stone or rubble walls or banks, ditches or fences. Such
systems are an important element of the existing landscape and are
representative of farming practice over a long period. A substantial
proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.
Bowl barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to
the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC.
They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds which covered single or
multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and
often acted as a focus for burials in later periods and are a major historic
element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation of form and
longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of
beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities, and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
Despite some minor localised quarrying, the three Romano-British settlements
on Aughertree Fell survive well. They preserve considerable detail of their
layout and will facilitate further study of Romano-British settlement patterns
in the area. The associated irregular aggregate field system is clearly
visible, both as a series of earthwork features and buried remains visible on
aerial photographs. Its articulation with the settlements provides important
evidence of a carefully planned reorganisation of landscape and definition of
landholding. The bowl barrow survives well and is one of three similar well
preserved bowl barrows on Aughertree Fell. It will contain undisturbed
archaeological deposits within the mound and upon the old land surface

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
De Figueiredo, P, Treuherz, J, Cheshire Country Houses, (1988)
Higham, N, Jones, B, The Carvetti, (1985), 93-4
Higham, N, Jones, B, The Carvetti, (1985), 93-4
Bellhouse, R L, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The Aughertree Fell Enclosures, , Vol. LXVII, (1967), 26-30
Higham, N, 'BAR' in Early Field Survival in North Cumbria, (1978), 119-26
Higham, N, 'BAR' in Early Field Survival in North Cumbria, (1978), 119-25
Cumbria SMR, MPP Evaluation - Banjo Enclosures, (1992)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)
Hingley,R., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Banjo Enclosures, (1987)
SMR No. 5872, Cumbria SMR, Aughertree Fell, (1984)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500
Source Date:

Source: Historic England

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