Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British enclosure and two adjoining fields on Westwood Common, 510m south west of Blackmill

A Scheduled Monument in Bishop Burton, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.8362 / 53°50'10"N

Longitude: -0.4576 / 0°27'27"W

OS Eastings: 501598.682448

OS Northings: 438875.637625

OS Grid: TA015388

Mapcode National: GBR TS72.QK

Mapcode Global: WHGF3.YT8Z

Entry Name: Romano-British enclosure and two adjoining fields on Westwood Common, 510m south west of Blackmill

Scheduled Date: 21 June 1978

Last Amended: 19 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013999

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26567

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Bishop Burton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Beverley Minster St John and St Martin

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a Romano-British defended enclosure on Westwood Common,
Beverley, 510m south west of Blackmill. It is part of an important group of
prehistoric earthworks surviving together on Westwood Common, which represents
a sizeable area of land in which prehistoric earthworks have survived because
of the establishment of common grazing rights here in the 14th century AD.
The enclosure is approximately oval in shape, orientated north west to south
east, measuring some 230m long by a maximum of 150m wide. It is defended by a
single bank and outer ditch, which are conspicuous at its northern and north
western side, but which all but disappear towards the south and south east,
merging with the local topography, which slopes downhill to the south east. On
the eastern and north eastern side, there is a triple bank and ditch system
up to 20m in total width, with the inner two banks reaching heights up to
1.5m and 3m - 5m in width. At the north western end these reduce into a
double bank and ditch, which meet the single bank and ditch of the north
western side in what is an original entrance. Here the banks are up to 5m wide
and 1.5m high, with the outer ditch up to a metre in depth and 3m in width.
A hollow trackway winds up from the south east to meet with the defended
enclosure on its eastern side.
The remains of two rectangular enclosures adjoin the north eastern side of the
enclosure, representing fields cultivated during the period of occupation of
the settlement. These survive as low earthwork remains, barely visible on
the ground, but they are more evident from aerial photographs of the area.
They are 200m north east - south west in total, by 100m north west - south
east, the field adjoining the settlement on its north eastern side being the
longer, measuring about 130m.

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.

Field systems may be found in association with farmsteads and settlements of
the same period, and are defined upon strict morphological criteria: whether
they are regular or irregular, square, rectangular, aggregate, dispersed or
coaxial, which are arranged on a single prevailing axis. Regular aggregate
field systems of the Romano-British period are laid out in a block,
approximately at right angles to one another, and usually have a settlement as
a focal point. The survival of a sufficiently large block of fields is
normally required to make a precise definition of their type.
This monument is one of a closely associated group of prehistoric earthworks
on Westwood Common, which include both square and round barrows, as well as
Romano-British enclosures, linear boundary dykes and a short section of Roman
road. The group has survived as part of a rare landscape characterised by
features dating back as far as the Bronze Age, which has owed its survival to
the granting of common grazing rights to the local people of Beverley in the
14th century AD.
The survival of such an extensive area of prehistoric earthworks is unusual in
this region of East Yorkshire, where arable agricultural practices have
resulted in the destruction of many earthwork remains of monuments above
ground. It offers important insights into ancient land use and territorial
divisions for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in this area, and the
development of these through time.
This small defended settlement dating to the period of the Roman occupation
survives in good condition, and retains a considerable portion of surviving
defensive banks and ditches, enclosing a settlement area within, which will
retain archaeological information relating to the period of its occupation.
The survival of two fields adjoining the enclosed settlement and clearly
related to it, is unusual and important in offering a more complete picture of
the subsistence economy of native rural communities during the Romano-British
period in this area. Its relationship to another, possibly contemporary
defended settlement, 700m to the north west in Burton Bushes, is similarly
important for the insights it offers into territorial divisions during this

Source: Historic England


Bastow, M.E., AM107, (1987)
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)
Mackay, Rodney , (1995)

Source: Historic England

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