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Three Romano-British farmsteads and part of a field system on Heddon Hill 900m north west of Calder

A Scheduled Monument in Roddam, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4776 / 55°28'39"N

Longitude: -1.992 / 1°59'31"W

OS Eastings: 400603.260096

OS Northings: 620421.445024

OS Grid: NU006204

Mapcode National: GBR G5J3.J7

Mapcode Global: WH9ZX.CLN4

Entry Name: Three Romano-British farmsteads and part of a field system on Heddon Hill 900m north west of Calder

Scheduled Date: 8 June 1972

Last Amended: 10 October 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019934

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34235

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Roddam

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Ilderton St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of three farmsteads and part of a field
system of Romano-British date situated on the eastern slopes of Heddon Hill.
Further sites on Heddon Hill are the subject of separate schedulings.
The two most westerly of the three farmsteads are conjoined. The most
northerly of the two is visible as an irregular enclosure 23m by 21m within a
bank of stone and earth 3m wide and 0.4m high. There is an entrance 1.5m wide
marked by two large boulders through the east wall of the farmstead. Within
the enclosure the interior has been divided by an earthen bank into two
compartments. Around the western side of the interior are the remains of three
stone-founded hut circles visible as circular enclosures up to 5m across
within walls 1m wide. The interior of the hut circles have been scooped into
the natural slope of the hill to a maximum depth of 0.5m and each has an
entrance in the east side which opens into a yard. A fourth hut circle has
been constructed outside the northern boundary of the farmstead; it measures
2.5m in diameter within walls 1m wide and 0.4m high with an entrance 0.75m
wide through the east wall. The more southerly of the two conjoined
farmsteads, oriented east to west, is visible as a sub-oval enclosure 22m by
15m within a bank of earth and stone 3m wide and 0.4m high with a stone-faced
edge internally. There is an entrance in the east wall 1.5m wide. The interior
of the enclosure has been scooped into the natural slope of the hill to a
depth of 1.5m. Around the western edge of the interior are three hut circles
up to 3m in diameter within walls 0.75m wide and a maximum 0.3m high. A fourth
hut circle 3.5m across has been constructed outside the western edge of the
The third farmstead lies 240m north east of the two conjoined farmsteads. It
is visible as a roughly square enclosure 25m by 25m within a bank of earth and
stone up to 5m wide and 1m high. The bank has a sharp external profile and is
flat-topped. There is an entrance 2.5m wide through the east wall of the
farmstead which is now blocked by large boulders. A secondary entrance 1m wide
has been made in the north wall. Within the enclosure the interior has been
divided into two compartments by an earthen bank 1.5m wide and 0.2m high. The
western compartment has been scooped into the natural slope of the hill to a
depth of 0.4m. It contains the remains of a hut platform 3m in diameter. There
is a rectangular embanked area in the eastern compartment, believed to be
associated with stock control. A stone-founded hut circle lies outside the
west wall of the farmstead. It is visible as a circular enclosure 6m in
diameter within walls of stone and earth 1.5m wide and 0.5m high with an
entrance 1m wide in the east wall. Two banks 1.5m wide and up to 0.4m high are
attached to the hut circle on each side of the entrance; these are believed to
be part of a larger enclosure which has been partly obscured by the adjacent
A field system associated with these settlements extends across the eastern
slopes of Heddon Hill. It includes a rectangular field, clearance cairns,
linear boundaries and lynchets. The northern extent of the field system is
defined by two rows of cairns on average 2m by 3m, and short lengths of bank
up to 0.3m high which define a corner of a field. Around the northern and
eastern sides of the two conjoined farmsteads a circular bank 1.75m wide and
0.3m high encloses an area approximately 30m by 85m. The southern terminal of
the bank is marked by a cairn of loose boulders 0.4m high. Projecting from
this bank in a north and north east direction are two further banks which
extend for approximately 125m and 130m respectively. The line of the north
eastern bank is continued by a row of at least six cairns which are visible as
mounds of earth and stone; they measure an average 3m in diameter and stand up
to 0.6m high. One cairn is very compact with a stone kerb around its edge and
is thought to be a burial cairn. Lying adjacent to the easternmost farmstead
is a field. It is oriented north to south and is visible as a sub-rectangular
enclosure 218m by 180m within an irregular bank of stone and earth up to 1.5m
wide and 0.3m high which contains large boulders and stone facing in places.
Within the field are a scatter of clearance cairns, lynchets and a circular
hut platform. The platform measures 9m in diameter and the interior is scooped
to a depth of 0.5m. Outside the south east corner of the field is a circular
enclosure 15m in diameter within an earth and stone bank 2m wide which
contains many large boulders. The interior of the enclosure is scooped to a
maximum depth of 1m. A hut circle 2.5m by 3m has been constructed across the
south side of the enclosure bank. A further circular enclosure lies outside
the western bank of the field; it measures 15m in diameter and the interior is
scooped to a maximum depth of 0.4m.

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.

A regular aggregate field system is a group of regularly defined fields of
prehistoric or Roman date, laid out in a block or blocks which lie
approximately at right angles to each other, usually with a settlement as a
focal point. Fields are generally square or rectangular and the blocks give an
ordered, if irregular, shape to the field system as a whole. They are
characteristically extensive monuments; the number of individual fields
varying between 2 and 50, but this is, at least in part, a reflection of bias
in the archaeological records rather than the true extent of such land
divisions during their period of use. The fields were the primary unit of
production in a mixed farming economy, incorporating pastoral, arable and
horticultural elements. Less than 250 such field systems have been identified
and, as a rare monument type which provides an insight into land division and
agricultural practice during their period of use, all well preserved examples
will normally be identified to be nationally important.
The three Romano-British farmsteads and part of a field system on Heddon Hill
900m west of Calder are well-preserved and archaeological deposits survive
well. Together they will provide evidence for the nature of Romano-British
settlement and agriculture and will add to our understanding of the rural
economy of the uplands during the Roman occupation.

Source: Historic England


Gates, T and Ainsworth, S, Field Survey in Northumberland, part 2, (1981)
NU 02 SW 16,
NU 02 SW 38,
NU 02 SW 46,

Source: Historic England

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