Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British farmstead 760m north of Whitehall

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5347 / 55°32'5"N

Longitude: -2.1749 / 2°10'29"W

OS Eastings: 389060.055571

OS Northings: 626793.729294

OS Grid: NT890267

Mapcode National: GBR F47F.YS

Mapcode Global: WH9ZM.K4KT

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead 760m north of Whitehall

Scheduled Date: 7 August 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019925

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34225

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirknewton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a farmstead of Romano-British date,
situated on a west facing terrace of Hare Law on the east bank of the College
Burn. The farmstead, which is oriented north to south, is visible as a
sub-rectangular enclosure 55m by 40m within a bank of stone and earth which
stands to a maximum height of 0.5m. There is an entrance through the north
wall of the farmstead 1.5m wide. Within the enclosure the interior has been
divided by an earthen bank into two unequal compartments, each of which has
been scooped into the natural slope of the hill to a depth of 2.5m. The
earthen bank which divides the two areas contains an entrance at its centre.
The more southerly of the two compartments contains the remains of up to three
stone founded hut circles. Two of the hut circles are visible as level
enclosures within walls of stone and earth which stand 0.3m high. A raised
platform at the extreme southern end of the compartment is thought to contain
the remains of the third hut circle. A fourth hut circle has been constructed
across the remains of the interior dividing wall; it measures 4m in diameter
internally and stands to a height of 0.3m. A fifth hut circle, 5.5m by 3.5m
internally, abuts the southern wall of the farmstead.

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 farmstead 760m north of Whitehall is well-preserved and
will provide evidence for the nature of Romano-British settlement and
agriculture in the area. The remains of houses in which Romano-British farmers
lived and the associated domestic debris will enhance our understanding of
everyday life during this period. In addition, the structure of the farmstead
will reveal details of the manner of its construction. The farmstead is
situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites of high quality and
forms part of a wider archaeological landscape in the north Cheviots.

Source: Historic England


Topping, P, A Survey of College Valley, North Northumberland, 1981, BA Dissertation, University of Durham

Source: Historic England

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