Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British farmstead in Fitz Woods

A Scheduled Monument in Cockermouth, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.6613 / 54°39'40"N

Longitude: -3.3831 / 3°22'59"W

OS Eastings: 310876.860506

OS Northings: 530453.366772

OS Grid: NY108304

Mapcode National: GBR 4GTJ.CV

Mapcode Global: WH6ZX.038F

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead in Fitz Woods

Scheduled Date: 4 March 1963

Last Amended: 1 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014587

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27706

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Cockermouth

Built-Up Area: Cockermouth

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Cockermouth Area Team

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a Romano-British farmstead located on a local high point
in Fitz Woods a short distance south of the River Derwent. It includes a
sub-rectangular enclosure with rounded corners which is defended by an inner
bank, ditch and outer bank. The enclosure has maximum internal dimensions of
approximately 44m east-west by 38m north-south. The defensive earthworks
survive particularly well on all sides except the west; the inner bank
measures c.2.5m wide by 0.5m high, the ditch measures c.2m wide by 1.3m deep,
and the outer bank measures c.7m wide by 1m high. On the western side the
earthworks are less pronounced; the ditch measures a maximum of 0.4m deep and
the inner and outer banks are visible as slight earthworks up to 0.2m high.

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.

Despite the slight reduction in the monument's defensive earthworks on the
western side, the Romano-British farmstead in Fitz Woods survives reasonably
well and is a good example of this class of monument. It will facilitate any
further study of Romano-British settlement patterns in the area.

Source: Historic England


AM7, Charlesworth,D., Moated site in Fitz Wood, (1962)
SMR No. 871, Cumbria SMR, Moated site in Fitz Wood, (1984)

Source: Historic England

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