Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric enclosure and trackway, and a Romano-British farmstead WNW of Fingland

A Scheduled Monument in Bowness, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.9044 / 54°54'15"N

Longitude: -3.1694 / 3°10'9"W

OS Eastings: 325112.967349

OS Northings: 557259.09455

OS Grid: NY251572

Mapcode National: GBR 6C9Q.MP

Mapcode Global: WH6YN.9Z0L

Entry Name: Prehistoric enclosure and trackway, and a Romano-British farmstead WNW of Fingland

Scheduled Date: 23 April 1979

Last Amended: 31 August 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013507

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27665

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Bowness

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Bowness-on-Solway St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a prehistoric enclosure and associated trackway together
with a later Romano-British farmstead which all lie on very slightly elevated
ground to the WNW of Fingland. The site is visible as crop marks on aerial
photographs which highlight features such as infilled ditches. The aerial
photographs show an oval-shaped prehistoric ditched enclosure measuring
approximately 60m by 45m internally. On the eastern side of this enclosure the
aerial photographs show a short length of prehistoric trackway with side
ditches. A sub-rectangular Romano-British farmstead measuring approximately
30m by 25m internally can be seen to be overlying the south eastern part of
the prehistoric enclosure on the aerial photographs and is thus of a later
date than the enclosure. This indicates that the site has a history of
multi-period occupation. There is an entrance close to the north eastern side
of the farmstead whilst internally the farmstead contains a smaller enclosure
also with an entrance close to its north eastern corner. Fieldwalking across
the site in 1982 found Romano-British pottery.
All modern field boundaries and gateposts are excluded from the scheduling but
the ground beneath them is included.

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.

Prehistoric enclosures are plots of land usually enclosed by stone walls or
banks of stone and earth in upland areas, and banks of earth or a timber
palisade with an external ditch in lowland areas. Many date to the Bronze Age
(c.2000 - 500 BC) although earlier and later examples also exist. They were
constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were
sometimes subdivided to accommodate animal shelters or hut circle settlements.
The size and form of prehistoric enclosures may therefore vary considerably,
depending upon their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity,
and their relationship to other monument classes provide important information
on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices among
prehistoric communities.
Prehistoric trackways are unmetalled routeways, of varying length, used as a
means of access or communication. They survive in the form of a series of low
earthworks, parallel crop/soil marks, hollow ways, modern footpaths and
hedgerows. Occasionally there are parallel ditches or banks to either side.
Trackways are dated almost entirely by association with the settlements they
served. They were maintained solely by usage and had no rigid boundaries. When
they ceased to be used they were incorporated into the surrounding landscape
with varying degrees of rapidity and thus surviving examples are rare. Known
examples which partly survive as earthworks are largely confined to marginal
agricultural land which has been given over to pasture or meadowland over many
centuries. In areas which have been more intensively farmed trackways are
recognised principally as crop/soil marks on aerial photographs. Trackways
provide important information on how the wider landscape was used.
The prehistoric enclosure and trackway, and the Romano-British farmstead WNW
of Fingland survive reasonably well despite the absence of any upstanding
earthworks. The fact that the Romano-British farmstead overlies the earlier
prehistoric enclosure demonstrates that this discrete plot of slightly
elevated land was occupied over a considerable period of time. The monument is
one of a number of similar sites identified by aerial photography in the
Solway Plain area in recent years and it will contribute to any further study
of prehistoric and Romano-British settlement patterns in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bewley, R H, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Fieldwalking In The Solway Plain, , Vol. LXXXV, (1985), 255-6
AP No. RB 107,1, Bewley, RH,
AP No. RB 88,7, Bewley, RH,

Source: Historic England

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