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Roman period native enclosed settlement 460m north of Sutherland Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5219 / 55°31'18"N

Longitude: -2.178 / 2°10'40"W

OS Eastings: 388858.920829

OS Northings: 625364.769254

OS Grid: NT888253

Mapcode National: GBR F47L.8C

Mapcode Global: WH9ZM.JG2P

Entry Name: Roman period native enclosed settlement 460m north of Sutherland Bridge

Scheduled Date: 22 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014499

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24623

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 an native enclosed settlement dating to the Roman
period. It is situated 460m north of Sutherland Bridge. The monument consists
of an enclosed scooped settlement and the circular stone foundations of
prehistoric buildings. The remains of field banks defining associated
enclosures lie immediately to the east of the settlement.
The settlement is situated on the valley bottom, at the foot of the slope of
Black Haggs Rigg. It occupies the slightly higher ground on the edge of the
river terrace overlooking the College Burn. Land immediately to the south is
lower lying and very poorly drained. The enclosure is oval in shape, with
maximum dimensions of 30m north-south by 29m east-west. The back of the
enclosure is scooped into the hillslope to a depth of up to 2.2m. The other
three sides are defined by a stone and earth bank up to 5m wide and up to 0.6m
high. The main entrance is in the north east corner of the enclosure, it is
1.5m wide and is defined on the north side by a massive boulder. A break in
the enclosure bank in the south east corner represents a second entrance. In
the interior of the enclosure is a platform, 10m by 14m, scooped into the
south west corner. It contains the stone foundations of a sub-circular
prehistoric building with an internal diameter of 5m by 4m, the walls are 1.5m
wide and there is an entrance in the east wall.
To the north of the enclosure, at a distance of c.15m, is a circular platform,
6m in diameter, constructed of earth and stone. This represents the foundation
for a prehistoric house which was situated outside the main enclosure.
Immediately to the east of the enclosure, the remains of field walls, up to
30m long, partly enclose the area of level ground which lies in front of the
enclosure. The stone foundations of a circular structure with an attached
length of stone wall, 4m to the south east of the main enclosure entrance, may
represent an animal pen. A further length of field wall extends northwards
from the north east corner of the settlement for a length of c.8m.

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 settlement 460m north of Sutherland Bridge is a well preserved example of
a Roman period native settlement and associated features. The site is
situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites of very high quality
and forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. It will contribute
significantly to the study of the wider settlement pattern during this period.

Source: Historic England


Topping, P, A Survey of College Valley, North Northumberland, 1981, BA Dissertation, University of Durham

Source: Historic England

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