Ancient Monuments

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Passpeth Sike deserted medieval hamlet, 1.2km east of Shillmoor

A Scheduled Monument in Alwinton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3617 / 55°21'42"N

Longitude: -2.1622 / 2°9'43"W

OS Eastings: 389815.494595

OS Northings: 607536.632513

OS Grid: NT898075

Mapcode National: GBR F6BF.PS

Mapcode Global: WHB0D.RHLG

Entry Name: Passpeth Sike deserted medieval hamlet, 1.2km east of Shillmoor

Scheduled Date: 23 August 1978

Last Amended: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015851

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28544

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Alwinton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a deserted hamlet, situated on a level
site on either side of the Passpeth Sike, a tributary of the River Coquet. The
remains include a large irregular enclosure situated on the right bank of the
stream and extending northwards across the farm track which crosses the
monument. The enclosure is bounded by a prominent earthen bank standing to a
height of 1m. Within the enclosure are the remains of three adjoining
rectangular buildings all orientated north east to south west which have been
interpreted as houses. All of the houses average 6m long by 4.5m wide; the
most north easterly of the group is very well preserved and its walls stand to
a maximum height of 0.6m. Attached to its south western side is a small
rectangular enclosure. The adjoining two houses, although of similar form are
less well defined and appear to be earlier in date. Adjacent to these
buildings and immediately opposite on the left bank of the Passpeth Sike there
is a fourth rectangular house of similar dimensions to the others. To the
north of the farm track and still within the large enclosure there are two
small irregular enclosures attached to the inside of the enclosing bank; these
are interpreted as stock pens or small yards. Outside the enclosure to the
south east there is a well preserved stack stand, upon which winter fodder was
stored. The stack stand is visible as a level platform 7m in diameter and up
to 1m high surrounded by a bank; a surrounding ditch has become infilled.
This settlement is thought to be part of the medieval settlement of Whiteside,
known from a 16th century map of the area by Christopher Saxton. The existence
of the stack stand and the well preserved remains of the most north easterly
house suggest, however, that parts of this hamlet remained in use in
subsequent centuries.
The metalled surface of the track which crosses the monument is excluded from
the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Cheviot sub-Province of the Northern and Western
Province, the upland mass straddling the English-Scottish border. The sub-
Province has not been sub-divided and forms a single local region. Settlement
is now largely absent, but the area is characterised by the remains of linear
dykes, field boundaries, cultivation terraces and buildings which bear witness
to the advance and retreat of farming, both cultivation and stock production,
over several thousand years. The distinctive, difficult upland environment
means that many of the medieval settlement sites relate to specialist
enterprises, once closely linked to settlement located in the adjacent
lowlands, such as shielings, but the extensive remains of medieval arable
farming raise many unanswered questions about medieval land use and
settlement, touching economic, climatic and population change.

The deserted hamlet by the Passpeth Sike survives well and retains significant
archaeological deposits. It is a good example of a hamlet in the Cheviot
margins and its continued use into later periods will add much to our
knowledge of medieval and later dispersed settlement in this region.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Charlton, B, An Archaeological Survey of the Otterburn Training Area, (1996), 112
Charlton, D B, Day, J C, An Archaeological Survey of the MOD Training Area, Otterburn, (1977)

Source: Historic England

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