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Roman period native settlement, associated field system and trackway, and medieval farmstead 270m south of Torleehouse

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5516 / 55°33'5"N

Longitude: -2.139 / 2°8'20"W

OS Eastings: 391326.057371

OS Northings: 628666.620296

OS Grid: NT913286

Mapcode National: GBR F4H7.PQ

Mapcode Global: WH9ZG.3QPF

Entry Name: Roman period native settlement, associated field system and trackway, and medieval farmstead 270m south of Torleehouse

Scheduled Date: 13 January 1972

Last Amended: 27 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014921

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24654

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 a Roman period native settlement situated on the north
west slope of Easter Tor. It comprises a double enclosure and is surrounded by
an earth and stone bank with many inner and outer facing stones visible. There
is an annexe to the south. Remains of a field system and droveway lie adjacent
to the settlement and a medieval farmstead lies immediately to the south.
The settlement is formed by two roughly circular conjoined enclosures
defined by a single bank 3m-4m wide and up to 0.7m high. The northern
enclosure measures 23m by 29m and is subdivided by a slight curving bank 2m
wide which runs north west to south east and contains several large marker
stones. The southern enclosure measures 27m by 27m and is scooped to a maximum
depth of 1.2m on the south side. Internally, there is a probable hut platform
in the southern corner which measures 8m by 9m. Each enclosure has an
entrance, 2m wide, in the north east side which is marked by large stones. To
the south is a trapezoidal annexe which measures 50m north west to south east,
the west side measures 12m and the east side measures 28m. It is defined on
the north and west by a slight revetted bank up to 0.3m high, on the south by
a revetted terrace 0.5m high with a trackway behind, and on the east by a bank
spread up to 3m wide and up to 0.4m high. There is an entrance, 2.5m wide, in
the south side of the annexe. Tucked inside the south east corner of the
annexe is a rectangular house platform, 5m by 3.5m. To the east of the
settlement is a series of cultivation terraces, c.4m wide and up to 1m high,
believed to be contemporary with it.
A trackway runs roughly north-south against the eastern side of the
settlement and continues past the annexe to the south east. The trackway
measures up to 2m wide with an earth and stone bank on the east side, 2m wide
and up to 0.5m high. A second trackway runs east-west behind the southern edge
of the annexe and measures up to 3m wide. The trackways merge and continue
south eastwards as a single track 4m wide with a revetted eastern edge. The
track continues beyond the area of the scheduling as a hollow way cut into the
hillside and a sample only has been included in the scheduling. Two outlying
hut platforms, each 3m in diameter, lie 15m south west of the merged trackway.
To the east of the hut platforms lies a shallow sub oval enclosure c.10m by
20m defined on all but the south side by an earth and stone bank spread up to
3m wide and 0.5m high. Internally, at the western end, are the remains of a
medieval or later steading. It is aligned east-west, is roughly rectangular in
shape and measures 13m by 8m with earth and stone banks spread up to 2m wide
and 0.3m high. A small bank of loose stone runs from the steading to the
south, it measures 0.75m wide by 0.2m high. The post and wire fence along the
west and south sides of the monument and the gate at the east corner are
excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

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.

Farmsteads, comprising small groups of buildings with attached yards, gardens
and enclosures, were a characteristic feature of the medieval rural landscape.
They occur throughout the country, the intensity of their distribution
determined by local topography and the nature of the agricultural system
prevalent within the region. In some areas of dispersed settlement they were
the predominant settlement form; elsewhere they existed alongside, or were
components of more nucleated settlement patterns. The sites of many
farmsteads have been occupied down to the present day but others were
abandoned. For example, in the northern border areas recurring cross-border
raids and military activities disrupted agricultural life and led to
abandonments. Farmsteads are a common and long-lived monument type; the
archaeological deposits on those which were abandoned are often well-preserved
and provide important information on regional and national settlement patterns
and farming economies, and on changes in these through time.
The Roman period native settlement south of Torleehouse, with its associated
field system and trackways, is well preserved and will contain significant
archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of broadly contemporary
settlements and enclosures situated on the lower slopes of Easter Tor. The
settlement is situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites of
high quality and forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. The
medieval farmstead is reasonably well preserved and will retain significant
archaeological deposits. The monument will contribute significantly to our
understanding of the organisation and development of land use and settlement
from the Roman to medieval periods.

Source: Historic England


NT 92 NW 24,
NT 92 NW 25,

Source: Historic England

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