Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British settlement 740m WNW of Old Spital

A Scheduled Monument in Bowes, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5066 / 54°30'23"N

Longitude: -2.1504 / 2°9'1"W

OS Eastings: 390355.410203

OS Northings: 512369.837436

OS Grid: NY903123

Mapcode National: GBR FJFB.79

Mapcode Global: WHB4G.YZ4L

Entry Name: Romano-British settlement 740m WNW of Old Spital

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016465

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28598

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Bowes

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes the remains of a settlement of Romano-British date,
situated on a near level site on gently sloping south east facing moorland in
the Stainmore Pass. The settlement is visible as a sub-rectangular enclosure
measuring 28m north to south by 15m east to west within stone walls on average
1m thick and on average 0.65m high. There is an entrance, 2m wide, in the
eastern corner of the south wall; this is flanked by two orthostats which rise
above the present height of the enclosure walls. Within the interior of the
enclosure there are very slight traces of a causeway leading from the entrance
towards the rear wall, and a hollow in the south east corner of the enclosure
is thought to be the site of a stone founded circular house. The northern part
of the enclosure has suffered from surface quarrying and the west wall is
overlain by quarry spoil.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

In spite of the fact that part of its northern side has been quarried, the
Romano-British settlement near Rey Cross Roman camp is reasonably well
preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. The importance of
this monument is enhanced by the survival of further prehistoric and Roman
remains in the area. Taken together, this group of monuments will contribute
greatly to our knowledge and understanding of settlement and landuse on
Stainmore over five millennia.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Vyner, et al, The Archaeology of the Stainmore Pass, (1998)
NY91SW 07,

Source: Historic England

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