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Romano-British enclosed hut circle settlement 660m south east of Holme Bank

A Scheduled Monument in Urswick, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.1513 / 54°9'4"N

Longitude: -3.11 / 3°6'36"W

OS Eastings: 327597.839013

OS Northings: 473403.234607

OS Grid: SD275734

Mapcode National: GBR 6NQF.HM

Mapcode Global: WH72C.6X9D

Entry Name: Romano-British enclosed hut circle settlement 660m south east of Holme Bank

Scheduled Date: 4 December 1924

Last Amended: 30 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013821

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27684

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Urswick

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Urswick St Mary Virgin and St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a Romano-British enclosed hut circle settlement located
on flat ground to the south east of Holme Bank. It straddles a thin strip of
limestone pavement and includes an irregularly-shaped enclosure containing
internal sub-divisions and visible traces of six hut circles. The enclosure
has maximum internal dimensions of approximately 80m north-south by 50m east-
west. That part of the settlement to the east of the limestone pavement is
defended by a turf-covered bank or wall of limestone rubble up to 2.5m wide
and 1m high and an outer ditch, partly infilled, but still measuring 1.5m wide
and 0.5m deep on the south and much of the east sides. The defences on the
west side are slighter and are best preserved at the north west corner where
they consist of a bank 1.5m wide and 0.3m high with an internal ditch 1.3m
wide and 0.2m deep. There is an entrance on the monument's east side and
internally there are the earthwork remains of three hut circles, each about 8m
in diameter, situated in the southern half of the enclosure. A low bank is
visible in the northern half of the enclosure suggesting this part was
partitioned off from the rest and may have been used as a stock pen. In that
part of the enclosure lying to the west of the limestone pavement there are
faint traces of three flat circular depressions each c.6m in diameter which
are interpreted as hut circles.

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.

Despite some minor erosion by cattle and sheep, the Romano-British enclosed
hut circle settlement site south east of Holme Bank survives reasonably well
and remains unencumbered by modern development. The monument is one of a
number of Romano-British and prehistoric settlement sites in the locality and
preserves considerable detail of the layout of the site. It will facilitate
any further study of Romano-British settlement patterns in the area.

Source: Historic England


SMR No. 2327, Cumbria SMR, Camp near Holme Bank Plantation, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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