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Waitby Castle enclosed Romano-British settlement and part of a medieval dyke

A Scheduled Monument in Waitby, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.4697 / 54°28'10"N

Longitude: -2.3765 / 2°22'35"W

OS Eastings: 375694.848741

OS Northings: 508320.1984

OS Grid: NY756083

Mapcode National: GBR CJVR.9J

Mapcode Global: WH93F.GXKC

Entry Name: Waitby Castle enclosed Romano-British settlement and part of a medieval dyke

Scheduled Date: 16 May 1951

Last Amended: 29 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018063

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27810

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Waitby

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Kirkby Stephen with Mallerstang and Crosby Garrett with Soulby

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Waitby Castle
enclosed Romano-British settlement together with a length of medieval dyke.
Waitby Castle is an oval-shaped hilltop enclosure situated on the summit of
Castle Hill; it includes a group of five small sub-rectangular enclosures
situated in the eastern half of the settlement. An inner stone bank, which
originally formed the settlement's western boundary prior to enlargement, runs
approximately north-south across the settlement and separates the group of
enclosures to the east from a flat area to the west. The whole is enclosed by
an outer earth and stone rampart which survives best on the northern side
where it measures up to 0.5m high. Two parallel dykes run northwards from this
outer rampart for approximately 80m forming a banked access way to and from
the settlement. Also included in the scheduling is a 70m length of later
medieval dyke. This is the northern end of a medieval dyke 2.2km in total
length which forms a junction with the northern end of the settlement's access
way. Limited excavation of the settlement in 1974 found that the earliest
occupation dated to the second century AD; at that time the settlement was
defended by a fence and ditch and contained cobbled yards.
During the late second/early third century a new drystone perimeter wall was
constructed and the outer ditch was abandoned. The enclosure was subsequently
enlarged towards the west and an outer rampart constructed.
All modern field boundaries 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.

Despite some very minor damage by medieval ridge and furrow ploughing, Waitby
Castle enclosed Romano-British settlement survives well and is a good example
of this class of monument. It is one of a number of similar monuments located
on the limestone hills of east Cumbria and it will facilitate any further
study of Romano-British settlement patterns in the area. Additionally the
medieval ridge and furrow crossing part of the settlement and a short length
of the later medieval dyke to the north of the settlement allow the phasing of
human activity on Castle Hill from the Romano-British period to later medieval
times to be determined.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Higham, N, Jones, N, 'Archaeological Journal' in Frontiers, Forts and Farmers, , Vol. 132, (1975), 40-5
Higham, N, 'Bull Board of Celtic Studies' in , , Vol. XXVIII, (1978), 150-5
Roberts, B K, 'Archaeological Journal' in Some Relict Landscapes in Westmorland: A Reconsideration, , Vol. 150, (1993), 433-55

Source: Historic England

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