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A Roman period native settlement, prehistoric carved rock and an iron smelting site on Knott Hill, 750m south of Stone Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Marwood, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5664 / 54°33'59"N

Longitude: -1.9388 / 1°56'19"W

OS Eastings: 404056.615539

OS Northings: 519024.186266

OS Grid: NZ040190

Mapcode National: GBR GHXM.1V

Mapcode Global: WHB4D.6H14

Entry Name: A Roman period native settlement, prehistoric carved rock and an iron smelting site on Knott Hill, 750m south of Stone Cross

Scheduled Date: 25 October 1973

Last Amended: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016612

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31822

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Marwood

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Barnard Castle with Whorlton

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument includes a Roman period native settlement, a prehistoric cup-
marked rock and an iron-smelting site. It is situated on Knott Hill in Marwood
Park, 750m south of Stone Cross. The 1:10000 map incorrectly identifies it as
the site of a medieval village.
The Roman period native settlement consists of a complex of mainly sub-
rectangular enclosures on the south east end of the hill. The enclosures have
rubble banks up to 5m wide and 0.7m high, with occasional orthostats. There is
a track leading to the settlement from the north. On the south and west sides
of the complex the rubble banks are more fragmentary, and have been disturbed
by quarrying, and on the west side, by agricultural improvement.
The prehistoric carved rock is near the north western extremity of the
settlement, 20m north west of a sinuous rubble bank. The carving on the rock
consists of three cups.
The iron smelting site is visible as three heaps of iron slag, now grassed
over, at the east edge of the settlement. The location of the smelting site
and its relationship to the settlement indicate that it is Roman or medieval
in date, but not later.
Several stretches of modern fieldwall which cross the settlement, are excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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.

Prehistoric rock carving is found on natural boulders and rock outcrops in
many areas of upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England
in Northumberland, Durham, and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form
of decoration is the `cup' marking, where small cup-like hollows are worked
into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more
`rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the rings may also
exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Other shapes and patterns also
occur but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups, or
may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and
Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide one of our most important
insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains
unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols. All
positively identified prehistoric rock carvings sites will normally be
identified as nationally important.
Primitive iron smelting sites can date from the Iron Age to the end of the
medieval period (c.500 BC-1500 AD). The evidence for early iron smelting often
consists of a heap of iron slag. Medieval iron smelting sites are frequently
found near streams and are known as bloomeries. In bloomeries, iron ore was
fired to about 1200 degrees Centigrade, using charcoal as fuel. This caused a
chemical reaction, producing a mass of iron called a bloom. This was then
hammered to remove any residual slag. Prehistoric iron smelting sites are
rare, therefore the process involved is less well known. Some prehistoric
sites have been found associated with settlements.
This early iron smelting site provides important evidence of early industry
and will therefore contribute to studies of the early iron industry in
Northern England. Its relationship to the settlement will preserve significant
dating evidence. The settlement survives well and will retain significant
information on Roman native settlement and land use in the area. The carved
rock provides evidence of earlier use of the area, and its position relative
to other carved rocks in Teesdale may be significant.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Kitchen , T, Bishopric of Durham, (1775)
Leland, J, Leland's Itinerary, (1543)
Mackenzie, J, History of Durham, (1834), 224
Mackenzie, J, History of Durham, (1834), 224
Surtees, , The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham, (1823), 94
Beckensall, S and Laurie, T , Prehistoric Rock Art of County Durham Swaledale and Wensleydale, forthcoming
Marwood DMV, Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Card NZ 01 NW 3,
Title: Bishopric of Durham
Source Date: 1765

Source: Historic England

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