Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British hut circle and enclosing bank and ditch immediately east of High Force Quarry

A Scheduled Monument in Forest and Frith, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.6563 / 54°39'22"N

Longitude: -2.1874 / 2°11'14"W

OS Eastings: 388004.077841

OS Northings: 529036.335943

OS Grid: NY880290

Mapcode National: GBR FG5L.7M

Mapcode Global: WHB3W.C7L8

Entry Name: Romano-British hut circle and enclosing bank and ditch immediately east of High Force Quarry

Scheduled Date: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019863

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34363

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Forest and Frith

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Forest and Frith

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument includes a Romano-British hut circle with a surrounding
semi-circular ditch and bank, at the east end of High Force Quarry, just
outside the quarry fence.
The hut circle is 7m in diameter, with an entrance facing south east. The
walls of the hut are formed by an earth and stone bank 2m wide and 0.3m high.
The hut circle is partly enclosed by a semi-circular bank and ditch about 23m
in diameter. The bank is composed of earth and stone and is 2m wide and 0.2m
high. The ditch is on the outside of the bank and is 2m wide and 0.3m deep.
These remains are overlain by the fragmentary remains of a robbed-out modern
drystone wall. The hut circle and its surrounding bank form part of a larger
settlement, most of which has been destroyed by the quarrying activities in
the 1930s. A pair of quernstones from the site were given to the Bowes Museum
by Lord Barnard in 1937.

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.

The Romano-British hut circle and enclosing bank and ditch immediately east of
High Force Quarry is very similar in type to contemporary sites found further
north in Cumbria and Northumberland. This part of the settlement survives
well, despite past quarrying activities. It is one of several Roman period
native settlements in Upper Teesdale and forms part of a wider prehistoric
landscape in the area which includes Bronze Age settlement, cairns, and burnt
mounds, and Roman period native settlement and field systems. It will retain
important information on Romano-British settlement and land use in the North

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Coggins, D, 'Upper Teesdale the archaeology of a North Pennine Valley' in Upper Teesdale The Archaeology Of A North Pennine Valley, , Vol. 150, (1986), 101

Source: Historic England

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