Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British farmstead and field system 320m north east of Rede Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Bellingham, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1453 / 55°8'43"N

Longitude: -2.2101 / 2°12'36"W

OS Eastings: 386708.396798

OS Northings: 583461.113955

OS Grid: NY867834

Mapcode National: GBR F80Y.BC

Mapcode Global: WHB1C.0XWX

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead and field system 320m north east of Rede Bridge

Scheduled Date: 23 January 1968

Last Amended: 7 April 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016200

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25076

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
an adjacent field system, situated on a south east facing slope in a
commanding position above the River Rede. The farmstead, sub-rectangular in
shape, measures 53m east-west by 46m north-south within a broad ditch 5m wide
and 1m deep below the top of an internal bank 2m wide. Externally, the ditch
is surrounded by a counter-scarp bank of stone and earth 2m wide and 0.5m high
above the exterior ground level. There is an entrance 5m wide in the south
side of the enclosure carried across the ditch on a causeway. A small area of
the interior of the enclosure was uncovered by a part excavation in 1957;
this revealed the existence of at least one stone founded circular house set
against the north wall of the settlement.

From the eastern side of the settlement, extending down to the River Rede
there are the remains of an associated regular field system. The field system
consists of a series of linear stone field walls which divide the landscape
into small rectangular plots. Many of the walls survive as low stony banks
standing to a maximum height of 0.4m and measuring 2m across. Other walls have
been robbed of much of their stone and consist of slight hollows 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.

A regular field system is a group of regularly defined fields of prehistoric
or Roman date, laid out in a block or blocks which lie approximately at right
angles to each other, usually with a settlement as a focal point. Fields are
generally square or rectangular and the blocks give an ordered, if irregular,
shape to the field system as a whole. They are characteristically extensive
monuments; the number of individual fields varying from two to 50, but this
is, at least in part, a reflection of bias in the archaeological record rather
than the true extent of such land divisions during their period of use, as
continued land use has often obliterated traces of the full extent of such
field systems. The fields were the primary unit of production in a mixed
farming economy, incorporating pastoral, arable and horticultural elements. As
a rare monument type which provide an insight into land division and
agricultural practice during their period of use, all well preserved examples
will normally be identified to be nationally important.

The farmstead and the adjacent field system near Rede Bridge are well
preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. They will add
greatly to our knowledge and understanding of Prehistoric/Romano-British
settlement and activity in this area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectlinear Settlements of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1960), 49
NY 88 SE 15,
NY/8683/A-K, Gates, T, Rede Bridge R-B settlement, fields, cord-rig, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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