Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British farmstead east of Little Urswick Crags

A Scheduled Monument in Urswick, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.1568 / 54°9'24"N

Longitude: -3.1332 / 3°7'59"W

OS Eastings: 326096.328742

OS Northings: 474032.805297

OS Grid: SD260740

Mapcode National: GBR 6NKC.GN

Mapcode Global: WH72B.VS66

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead east of Little Urswick Crags

Scheduled Date: 4 December 1924

Last Amended: 5 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013823

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27686

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 farmstead located on gently sloping
ground a short distance to the east of the summit of Little Urswick Crags.
It is one of two Romano-British settlements on the crags; the adjacent
farmstead, which is of markedly different shape, is the subject of a separate
scheduling. This site includes an almost square enclosure having maximum
internal measurements of approximately 56m by 53m. The enclosure is defended
by a turf-covered stone wall or bank of limestone rubble up to 3m wide and 1m
high. There are two entrances through this wall or bank on the enclosure's
eastern side.
A modern drystone wall crossing the north western side of the monument is
excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 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 a combination of stone robbing and quarrying, the Romano-British
farmstead east of Little Urswick Crags survives reasonably well and remains
largely unencumbered by modern development. It is one of a number of
Romano-British and prehistoric settlement sites in the locality, indeed it
lies immediately east of another Romano-British farmstead, and will facilitate
any further study of Romano-British settlement patterns in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Dobson, J, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Urswick Stone Walls, , Vol. VII, (1907), 72-94

Source: Historic England

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