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Three prehistoric and Romano-British settlements and associated cord rig at Green Brae

A Scheduled Monument in Bardon Mill, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.002 / 55°0'7"N

Longitude: -2.3317 / 2°19'54"W

OS Eastings: 378878.372851

OS Northings: 567537.306524

OS Grid: NY788675

Mapcode National: GBR DB4L.ZQ

Mapcode Global: WH90Y.4JXS

Entry Name: Three prehistoric and Romano-British settlements and associated cord rig at Green Brae

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016469

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28591

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Bardon Mill

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Beltingham with Henshaw

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of three settlements of prehistoric or
Romano-British date, situated in a low coll near an area of outcropping rock.
The first settlement is visible as a trapezoidal enclosure measuring 30m north
to south by 27m east to west within earthen banks spread on average to 2m. It
is located at NY78956750 and its northern corner is overlain by a modern field
Within the interior of the enclosure, aerial photographs show clearly the
existence of a single round house. Some 4m east of the first settlement there
is a second trapezoidal enclosure, of similar dimensions to the first. This is
bissected by the field wall within the main extent of the enclosure lying to
the north. This enclosure contains the prominent earthwork remains of a
centrally placed round house 9m in diameter. Immediately north and west of
these two settlements there are the well defined remains of a third
settlement. This settlement is visible as a roughly rectangular structure
measuring 55m east to west by 32m north to south. It is bounded by banks of
stone and earth standing 0.5m high. Within the enclosure there are clearly
defined walls of stone and earth which divide the interior into what are
thought to be three stockyards. Each of the yards is associated with a
circular round house measuring 6m in diameter with walls standing to a maximum
of 0.3m high. Further remains of small paddocks are visible outside the three
settlements and to the east.
To the north of the settlements and associated enclosures, there are the
remains of an associated field system. The field system is visible as a series
of sinuous, low stone walls which divide the landscape into a series of
irregular shaped fields. Some of the fields contain the earthwork remains of
prehistoric cultivation, or cord rig. The cord rig, which is difficult to
detect on the ground, is clearly visible on aerial photographs.
All stone walls and fences which cross the monument and all telegraph poles
placed within it are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
these features 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.

Cord rig is the term used to describe a form of prehistoric cultivation in
which crops were grown on narrow ridges subdivided by furrows. The average
width between the centre of the furrows is 1.4m. Cord rig is frequently
arranged in fields with formal boundaries but also occurs in smaller,
irregular unenclosed plots varying between 30 and 60 sq m in size. It often
extends over considerable areas, and is frequently found in association with a
range of prehistoric settlement sites and with other types of prehistoric
field system. It generally survives as a series of slight earthworks and is
frequently first discovered on aerial photographs, but it has also been
identified beneath several parts of Hadrian's Wall by excavation of marks
created by an ard (a simple early wooden plough). The evidence of excavation
and the 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 Border areas of England and Scotland,
where it is a particular feature of the upland margins. The discovery of cord
rig cultivation is of importance for the analysis of prehistoric settlement
and agriculture as it provides insights into early agricultural practice and
the division and use of the landscape. Less than 100 examples of cord rig
cultivation have been identified in Northern England. As a rare monument type
all well preserved examples, particularly where they are immediately
associated with prehistoric or Romano-British settlements, will normally be
identified as nationally important.
The settlements and cord rig field system at Green Brae are well preserved and
retain significant archaeological deposits. They are one of a number of
prehistoric or Romano-British monuments in the Hadrian's Wall corridor, which
taken together will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of
settlement and activity at this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Crow, J, Archaeology In Northumberland, (1995), 29
Crow, J, Archaeology In Northumberland, (1995), 29
Gates, T G, (1992)
Gates, T M, (1992)

Source: Historic England

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