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Roman period native settlement 250m west of Elsdonburn Shank

A Scheduled Monument in Kilham, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5575 / 55°33'26"N

Longitude: -2.2239 / 2°13'26"W

OS Eastings: 385972.963096

OS Northings: 629332.874764

OS Grid: NT859293

Mapcode National: GBR D4X5.BM

Mapcode Global: WH9ZD.TK5X

Entry Name: Roman period native settlement 250m west of Elsdonburn Shank

Scheduled Date: 14 March 1972

Last Amended: 24 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014773

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24645

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kilham

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a Roman period native settlement situated
on the lower northern slopes of Coldsmouth Hill. It consists of a sub
rectangular enclosure divided into two roughly equal compartments. It measures
41m north-south by 50m east-west and is contained by an earth and stone bank,
3m-5m wide and up to 0.8m high, except to the south where the eastern half is
scooped to a depth of c.2m. The bank overlaps and runs parallel with the edge
of the scoop allowing access to the western half. On the east side is an
entrance 2m wide which is marked by a stone setting on the southern edge. The
two compartments are separated by an earth and stone bank, 1m wide and 0.2m
high, running north-south. Outside the settlement to the north, are the
remains of three terraces or level strips each measuring up to 30m long,
3m-4m wide and 0.3m-1m high. These terraces are interpreted as the remains of
a field system associated with the settlement. Beyond the settlement to the
east is a linear bank, but as its function and relationship to the settlement
are not fully understood, it is not included in the scheduling.

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 settlement west of Elsdonburn Shank is well preserved
and will contain significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of
broadly contemporary settlements and enclosures located on the northern slopes
of Coldsmouth Hill. The settlement is situated within an area of clustered
archaeological sites of high quality and forms part of a wider archaeological
landscape. It will contribute to the study of the broader settlement pattern
during this period.

Source: Historic England


NT 82 NE 39,

Source: Historic England

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