Ancient Monuments

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Roman period native enclosed farmstead 320m north west of Southernknowe

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5168 / 55°31'0"N

Longitude: -2.1811 / 2°10'51"W

OS Eastings: 388663.490187

OS Northings: 624801.074722

OS Grid: NT886248

Mapcode National: GBR F46N.L6

Mapcode Global: WH9ZM.GLML

Entry Name: Roman period native enclosed farmstead 320m north west of Southernknowe

Scheduled Date: 22 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014488

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24627

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirknewton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a Roman period native farmstead situated on a level
platform on an east facing slope above the valley of the College Burn. The
ground to the east falls away sharply to the valley bottom. The enclosure is
roughly D-shaped and measures externally 40m north-south by 21m east-west. It
is scooped into the hillside on the west to a depth of up to 2m. The remaining
sides are contained by a single bank of earth and stones averaging 3m wide and
maximum height 0.6m. There is a simple entrance, 2m wide, at the north end.
Inside the enclosure are two raised platforms. The northern platform is set in
the scoop on the west side of the enclosure; it measures 11m north-south by 8m
east-west and stands 1.2m high. The southern platform is set against the south
side of the enclosure; it measures 6m north-south by 5m east-west and stands
1.5m high. The western side of the monument is bounded by a modern road.

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 Roman period native farmstead north west of Southernknowe is well
preserved and will retain significant archaeological deposits. The monument is
situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites of high quality and
forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. It will make a significant
contribution to the study of the wider settlement pattern at this time.

Source: Historic England

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