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Carved rock and Romano-British settlement known as Greystone, 250m south of Moorcock Farm, Barningham Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Barningham, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.4809 / 54°28'51"N

Longitude: -1.8966 / 1°53'47"W

OS Eastings: 406794.313353

OS Northings: 509514.0969

OS Grid: NZ067095

Mapcode National: GBR HJ6M.5H

Mapcode Global: WHB4S.VM0P

Entry Name: Carved rock and Romano-British settlement known as Greystone, 250m south of Moorcock Farm, Barningham Moor

Scheduled Date: 7 January 1980

Last Amended: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017421

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30487

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Barningham

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Barningham St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes a carved sandstone rock, and a Romano British native
settlement. It is situated on Barningham Moor, on a slight terrace, 40m east
of a small stream, south of Moorcock Farm.
The carved rock is in a group of three prominent rocks forming part of the
enclosure walling within the settlement. The rock measures 1.06m by 0.82m by
0.74m. The carving consists of five cups at the ESE corner of the rock, and
two approximately in the centre.
The settlement consists of a sub-divided enclosure and the remains of at least
one stone round house. An additional stretch of walling links the settlement
to the river bank. The river may have eroded part of this bank. The northern
part of the enclosure is sub-rectangular, approximately 44m from north to
south, and 38m from east to west. It is sub-divivded by a sinuous slight bank,
and contains the possible remains of a stone round house near its north edge.
The south side of this part of the enclosure is composed of a number of large
stones, a stretch of stony bank, and some hollows where stones have been
The central part of the enclosure is approximately 18m from north to south and
23m from west to east. The west edge is defined by a slight, heather clad
bank, the east edge by a break of slope, and the south edge by a line of large
stones, which includes the carved rock.
The south part of the enclosure is the least well defined, but it is visible
as a flattened area with a slight crest and part lynchet on its west edge.
This continues southwards through the heather as a slight bank, visibly stony
wherever exposed. This bank is cut by the present course of the small stream
at the southern limit of the bank, and can be seen at this point to be
composed of sandstone rubble. This western limit of the south part of the
enclosure is 30m long. The east edge of this part of the enclosure is
incomplete, and consists of a stretch of stony bank 10m long, linking the
settlement to the river. These enclosures are likely to have functioned as
stock enclosures or yards.

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

Prehistoric rock art is found on natural 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 and ring' marking where expanses of small cup-like hollows are pecked
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'. Pecked lines or grooves can
also exist in isolation from cup and ring decoration. 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
Frequently they are found close to contemporary burial monuments and the
symbols are also found on portable stones placed directly next to burials or
incorporated in burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock-art
have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection
of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed
in activities such as quarrying. All positively identified prehistoric rock
art sites exhibiting a significant group of designs will normally be
identified as nationally important.

In Cumbria and Northumberland, and more rarely in Durham, 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 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 enclosure 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.
The carving on the rock south of Moorcock Farm survives well and will
contribute to our knowledge of rock art in northern England. The settlement is
also in good condition and will contribute to studies of the continuity of
prehistoric and Roman period land use in the uplands. The later use of rock
art within a Roman period settlement is also an important relationship which
should be preserved.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Laurie, T, 'Archaeological Newsbulletin Series 2' in Archaeological Newsbulletin CBA Regional Group Three, (1977), 11
Laurie, T, 'Archaeological Newsbulletin Series 2' in Archaeological Newsbulletin CBA Regional Group Three, (1977), 11

Source: Historic England

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