Ancient Monuments

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Roman period native enclosed settlement 700m south of Ring Chesters defended settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5465 / 55°32'47"N

Longitude: -2.2135 / 2°12'48"W

OS Eastings: 386624.107205

OS Northings: 628112.052137

OS Grid: NT866281

Mapcode National: GBR D4Z9.KK

Mapcode Global: WH9ZD.ZV3B

Entry Name: Roman period native enclosed settlement 700m south of Ring Chesters defended settlement

Scheduled Date: 14 March 1972

Last Amended: 22 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014678

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24619

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 settlement typical of the Roman period. It
consists of an oval enclosure located on a south facing slope which encloses
an area of about 0.07ha. The northern side of the enclosure is scooped
into the south facing slope. The enclosure bank consists of earth and stone
and encloses an area 30m by 25m. A number of large boulders in the bank
protrude from the ground. The enclosure bank does not exist on the northern
side where the enclosure is cut into the slope. The bank measures between 2m
and 5m wide on the south side with a maximum height of 0.4m.
The entrance into the enclosure is 3m wide and is located on the east side.
The enclosure contains two hut circles. The largest hut circle is located in
the north west corner and is 10m in diameter internally. The hut circle is
visible as a ring of grass covered stones, some of which are positioned to
create facing stones. The entrance to this hut circle is on the south west and
is flanked by an upright jamb on the south side. The smaller hut circle is
located in the southern half of the enclosure and has an internal diameter of
7m. The bank survives to a maximum height of 0.5m and is 2m wide.

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 700m south of Ring Chesters is substantially intact. It is one
of a number of similar sites in this area and will contribute to any study of
Romano-British settlement patterns in the north of England.

Source: Historic England

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