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Roman period native enclosed settlement 480m north of Sutherland Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5226 / 55°31'21"N

Longitude: -2.1776 / 2°10'39"W

OS Eastings: 388882.737685

OS Northings: 625440.91517

OS Grid: NT888254

Mapcode National: GBR F47L.B4

Mapcode Global: WH9ZM.JG85

Entry Name: Roman period native enclosed settlement 480m north of Sutherland Bridge

Scheduled Date: 22 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014500

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24632

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 enclosed native settlement and associated hut circles
and the remains of a field bank dating to the Roman period. It is situated
480m north of Sutherland Bridge, at the foot of the south east slope of Black
Haggs Rigg, on a raised river terrace above the College Burn. It is one of a
number of broadly contemporary sites occupying a similar position on the
valley floor of the College Burn. The monument consists of two scooped
enclosures containing the remains of prehistoric buildings and courtyards. The
foundations of a further two prehistoric buildings lie outside the enclosures
to the west, and the remains of contemporary field banks survive to the east.
The settlement is situated on a broad, level platform of raised ground formed
by an old river terrace. It is overlooked by the steep slopes of Black Haggs
Rigg to the west and Hare Law to the east. The settlement consists of two
conjoined enclosures. The main enclosure is sub-circular and encloses an area
30m by 30m. The enclosure banks are constructed of earth and stone and are up
to 5.5m wide and 1m high. There is an entrance, 2.9m wide, in the east side
facing directly down towards the College Burn. The rear of the enclosure is
scooped into the hillside to a depth of 4m. A broad, level platform, c.8m by
8m, is scooped into the south west corner of the enclosure. The circular stone
foundations of a prehistoric house, with an internal diameter of 5.5m, lie
near the centre of the enclosure. The entrance, in the east side, opens onto a
scooped courtyard. A secondary enclosure has been added to the southern wall
of the original site. It has internal dimensions of 20m by 12.5m and it is
enclosed by stone and earth banks up to 4m wide and 0.5m high. There is an
entrance in the north east corner of the enclosure and there are two further
breaks in the bank to the south east. The rear of the enclosure is scooped
into the hillside to a depth of 1.5m. The remains of at least two circular
prehistoric buildings, with internal diameters of 2m, are situated outside the
enclosure to the west.
The remains of field walls survive immediately to the east of the enclosures.
These consist of two lengths of wall, up to 4.5m wide and 0.5m high. One
section extends from the entrance of the main enclosure, northwards, for a
length of c.17m, the other runs parallel to the east side of the secondary
enclosure and then turns eastwards at the entrance area of the two enclosures
to run for the entire length of the level area of the river terrace, a
distance of c.50m.

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 480m north of Sutherland Bridge is a very well preserved
example of a Roman period native settlement. 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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