Ancient Monuments

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Whitber Romano-British farmstead 660m south west of Highmore Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Waitby, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.4599 / 54°27'35"N

Longitude: -2.384 / 2°23'2"W

OS Eastings: 375202.774768

OS Northings: 507233.246745

OS Grid: NY752072

Mapcode National: GBR CJSW.N1

Mapcode Global: WH93M.C50B

Entry Name: Whitber Romano-British farmstead 660m south west of Highmore Hill

Scheduled Date: 16 May 1951

Last Amended: 29 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018065

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27812

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

Details

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Whitber
Romano-British farmstead which is located over an exposed shelf of limestone
on gently sloping ground 660m south west of Highmore Hill. It includes a
cluster of five irregularly-shaped enclosures, two of which contain traces of
hut circles where the occupants lived, while the remaining enclosures would
have functioned as stock pens. A narrow entrance on the monument's eastern
side leads into an oval-shaped enclosure within which are traces of a small
hut circle approximately 2.5m in diameter. There is another slightly larger
hut circle situated in the south western corner of the irregularly-shaped
enclosure to the west. The remaining enclosures in this group appear
featureless apart from the one at the monument's south western side which has
an inturned entrance on its southern side.

MAP EXTRACT
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 minor damage caused by past quarrying of the exposed limestone
shelf over which the monument was constructed, Whitber Romano-British
farmstead 660m south west of Highmore Hill survives reasonably 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 will facilitate
any further study of Romano-British settlement patterns in the area.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Roberts, B K, 'Archaeological Journal' in Some Relict Landscapes in Westmorland: A Reconsideration, (1993), 443-4
Other
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)

Source: Historic England

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