Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British farmstead, 900m north east of Thornborough High Barns

A Scheduled Monument in Bywell, Northumberland

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Latitude: 54.99 / 54°59'23"N

Longitude: -1.9664 / 1°57'59"W

OS Eastings: 402247.108152

OS Northings: 566154.598259

OS Grid: NZ022661

Mapcode National: GBR GBQR.21

Mapcode Global: WHB27.RTTZ

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead, 900m north east of Thornborough High Barns

Scheduled Date: 24 February 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017723

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28574

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Bywell

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Corbridge with Halton and Newton Hall

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a farmstead of Romano-British date
situated in a commanding position on a low ridge immediately above the former
Shildon Loch. The northern half of the enclosure is visible as an earthwork
while the southern part of the monument lies beneath a road and its verges and
survives below ground level as a buried feature. The upstanding remains of the
farmstead, which is sub-rectangular in shape, measure a maximum of 56m east-
west by 20m north-south within a broad ditch 6m wide. The ditch is a maximum
of 1m deep below an outer earthen bank on average 4m wide which stands 0.3m
high. The remainder of the farmstead survives below ground as a buried feature
with a ditch of similar dimensions. The farmstead is named on an estate map of
Thornborough High Barns as Bow Bridge.
The fences which bound the road on both sides and the metalled surface of the
road 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.

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.

Although visible as only a partial earthwork, the farmstead near Thornborough
High Barns is reasonably well preserved and retains significant archaeological
deposits. It is one of a group of similar Romano-British settlements in the
vicinity of Hadrian's Wall and will contribute to any study of the settlement
pattern during the Roman period.

Source: Historic England


NZ06NW 16,

Source: Historic England

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