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Romano-British settlement and field of cord rig, 625m south west of Rede Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Bellingham, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1396 / 55°8'22"N

Longitude: -2.2174 / 2°13'2"W

OS Eastings: 386240.069244

OS Northings: 582821.678506

OS Grid: NY862828

Mapcode National: GBR D9Y0.RF

Mapcode Global: WHB1J.X28R

Entry Name: Romano-British settlement and field of cord rig, 625m south west of Rede Bridge

Scheduled Date: 7 April 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015526

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25078

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Bellingham

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Bellingham

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a settlement of Romano-British date, and
a field of cord rig, situated on level ground in a commanding position above
the River Rede. The settlement, sub-rectangular in shape measures a maximum of
50m east-west by 57m north-south within a prominent ditch 5m wide and 1m deep
below an inner bank 2m wide. The ditch is surrounded by a counter-scarp bank
of stone and earth on average 3m wide and 0.4m high above the exterior ground
level. There is an entrance 5m wide in the eastern side of the enclosure.
Within the enclosure there are two circular depressions which are the remains
of two sunken yards situated either side of the entrance. Each of the yards is
crossed by a linear bank running east-west which are thought to be further
sub-divisions of the yard space. Facing onto these yards are the remains of
four stone founded circular houses ranging in diameter from 6m to 8m. Limited
excavation carried out in 1957 by Professor Jobey to determine the nature of
the settlement uncovered two of the circular houses and an area of one of the
scooped yards which was shown to be paved.

Immediately to the west of the settlement there is a large field of
prehistoric cultivation known as cord rig. The cord rig is visible as a series
of narrow ridges on average 1m wide and standing 0.15m high. It is enclosed
within the slight remains of stone and earth banks standing to a maximum of
0.2m high on the south and western sides. The prehistoric cultivation is
thought to be associated with an earlier phase of settlement in the area.

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.

Cord rig cultivation is visible as a series of narrow ridges and furrows no
more than 1.4m across between the centres of furrows. It is frequently
arranged in fields of varying size with formal boundaries but it also occurs
in smaller, irregular plots of between 30 to 60 square metres. Cord rig can be
fragmentary or more extensive, sometimes extending over considerable areas,
and it is often found in association with a range of prehistoric settlement
forms and in association with prehistoric field systems. It generally survives
as a series of earthworks and is frequently first noted on aerial photographs
but it has also been identified as a series of ard marks beneath several parts
of Hadrian's Wall. The evidence of excavation and study of associated
monuments demonstrates that cord rig cultivation spans the period from the
Bronze Age through to the Roman period. Cord rig cultivation is known
throughout the Borders of England and Scotland but is a marked feature of the
upland margins. The discovery of cord rig cultivation indicates that arable
regimes formed a significant part of the local economy in these areas for much
of the prehistoric period. Cord rig is therefore of considerable importance
for the analysis of prehistoric settlement and agriculture; all well preserved
examples, particularly where they are found in association with prehistoric or
Romano-British settlements, will normally merit statutory protection.

The Romano-British settlement and cord rig 625m south west of Rede Bridge are
well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. They will add
to our knowledge and understanding of prehistoric settlement and agriculture,
in particular information about the relationship of the Romano-British
settlement with the earlier cord rig will be preserved.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectlinear Settlements of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1960), 3, 36
Topping, P, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Early Cultivation in Northumberland And The Borders, , Vol. 55, (1989), 161-181
NY 8682 A-F, Gates, T, Redeswood Law Fell - R-B settlement and cord-rigg, (1988)
NY 88 SE 17,

Source: Historic England

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