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Roman period native settlement and field system 260m west of Wynch Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Newbiggin, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.6466 / 54°38'47"N

Longitude: -2.1545 / 2°9'16"W

OS Eastings: 390128.034655

OS Northings: 527953.809888

OS Grid: NY901279

Mapcode National: GBR FGDQ.C3

Mapcode Global: WHB3W.WG7P

Entry Name: Roman period native settlement and field system 260m west of Wynch Bridge

Scheduled Date: 22 December 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021094

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35953

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Newbiggin

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes a Roman period native settlement and field system
occupying the top of a low whinstone outcrop 260m west of Wynch Bridge.
The settlement consists of a group of three hut circles within an
irregularly shaped rubble and boulder walled enclosure 260m west of Wynch
Bridge, and at least one hut circle about 30m further north. These lie
within a field system consisting of boulder walls and lynchets, and
including two clearance cairns. The stony banks are 1m to 2m wide and
typically 0.4m high. The cairns are both 7m in diameter and 0.3m high. The
settlement and field system covers an area approximately 280m long and
180m wide. The settlement lies within one modern field, but the rubble
banks and lynchets of the field system extend east of the settlement into
the three fields to the east. One of the field walls dividing these fields
lies on top of one of the Roman period lynchets.

The modern drystone walls are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them 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.

Prehistoric field systems in the north of England take a variety of forms.
Regular and irregular types of prehistoric field system are widespread
throughout the Pennine Range. Large-scale field systems with long,
parallel, rubble banks are particularly typical of the North Pennines.
There are also systems composed of small irregular fields with curving
banks. The dating of these is often uncertain, but they are considered to
date from the Bronze Age or Iron Age (2500-50BC). An additional type of
field system with small, rectangular, lynchetted or rubble-banked fields
is considered to be later, usually dating from the Iron Age or Roman
period (500BC-AD400). Closer dating of all types of field system may be
provided by their relationships to other classes of monument which were in
use for shorter, known periods of time.

This Roman period native settlement and field system 260m west of Wynch
Bridge survive well. They will contribute to knowledge of the diversity of
settlement and field systems during the Roman period.

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), 169

Source: Historic England

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