Ancient Monuments

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Roman period native enclosed farmstead 370m WNW of Southernknowe

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5165 / 55°30'59"N

Longitude: -2.183 / 2°10'58"W

OS Eastings: 388540.736427

OS Northings: 624760.974603

OS Grid: NT885247

Mapcode National: GBR F46N.5B

Mapcode Global: WH9ZM.FLPV

Entry Name: Roman period native enclosed farmstead 370m WNW of Southernknowe

Scheduled Date: 22 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014491

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24630

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 enclosed farmstead situated on a
level platform on the eastern slope of Blackhaggs Rigg above the valley of the
College Burn. The settlement comprises two adjoining enclosures linked by an
outer enclosure bank which defines an annexe. The northern enclosure is
roughly D-shaped and measures internally c.34m north-south by 16m east-west
and is overlain by a later sheepfold. This enclosure contains two scooped
areas: the northern scoop measures 9m north-south by 10m east-west, is up to
1.8m deep and contains a possible stone setting; the southern scoop is very
slight and measures 8m north-south by 6m east-west. The enclosure is contained
by a bank of earth and stone 1.5m wide and up to 1m high with an entrance 1.5m
wide in the west side. Around the north and west sides of the northern
enclosure is an annexe or outer enclosure defined by a bank 3m wide and up to
0.3m high and incorporated into the hillslope on the west; the bank defines a
strip of land 10m wide. In the north west corner of the annexe is a raised
platform 7m by 5m and 0.3m high. At the south end of the annexe is a 2m wide
entrance formed by the gap between the northern and southern enclosures. The
southern enclosure is roughly oval and scooped into the hillside on the west
to a maximum depth of 2m. The remaining sides consist of a single bank of
earth and stone, up to 2.5m wide and 1.3m high, which is a continuation of the
south end of the outer enclosure bank; there is an entrance 3m wide in the
east side. The internal measurements are 23m north-south by 13m east-west.

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.

The Roman period native farmstead 370m WNW of Southernknowe is well preserved,
despite a later sheepfold built on part of the monument, 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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