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Ingram Farm: prehistoric to post-medieval settlement, agricultural and funerary remains

A Scheduled Monument in Ingram, Northumberland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.4292 / 55°25'44"N

Longitude: -1.9922 / 1°59'31"W

OS Eastings: 400591.422476

OS Northings: 615027.977201

OS Grid: NU005150

Mapcode National: GBR G5JN.HM

Mapcode Global: WHB03.CSKT

Entry Name: Ingram Farm: prehistoric to post-medieval settlement, agricultural and funerary remains

Scheduled Date: 23 October 1934

Last Amended: 12 April 2010

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021382

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32782

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Ingram

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Ingram St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

The monument includes buried and upstanding remains from successive phases of
prehistoric to post-medieval activity on Ingram Farm in the Breamish Valley.
The farm forms a topographical block defined by rivers and streams and
includes 6 sq km of unimproved pasture. The high summits of Brough Law, Ewe
Hill, Wether Hill and Cochrane Pike and the valley of the Middledean Burn
dominate the topography of the monument. The remainder of the area is
characterised by high, gentle to moderately sloping ground.

The remains include approximately 40 prehistoric settlements, many associated
with prehistoric field systems; more than 200 prehistoric cairns representing
both funerary activity and surface rubble clearance; and extensive linear
earthworks. Intensive medieval arable exploitation has led to the
superimposition of an extensive field system and associated rectangular
buildings over the prehistoric remains in the area between Ewe Hill and
Fawdon Burn, while post-medieval pastoral activity has produced several
pasture boundaries and about 30 rectangular buildings including many
shielings. A programme of survey and excavation between 1994 and 2003 has
provided new radio-carbon dates for many features and has emphasised the
complexity and longevity of the remains. Further prehistoric to
post-medieval remains lie beyond the scheduling on all sides and are the
subjects of separate schedulings.

The overall complex of prehistoric remains include a range of components:
round cairns, unenclosed hut circle settlements, palisaded settlements,
defended settlements, enclosed settlements, trackways, field systems,
cairnfields and linear earthworks. The various relationships between these
features and their patterning across the ground demonstrates the sequence of
prehistoric settlement and land use of the monument.

There is increasing evidence of Mesolithic and Neolithic activity in the area
including some early radio-carbon dates, the discovery of flint tools and,
most notably, Neolithic and Early Bronze Age pottery excavated from a
timber-lined burial pit at Wether Hill. However, the first tangible field
evidence of prehistoric activity are the numerous Bronze Age round cairns:
funerary monuments constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple
burials, often placed in stone coffins called cists. More than 20 isolated,
large round cairns have been identified within the scheduling, many of which
are located in prominent positions. They are visible as a wide range of
shapes and sizes, but are generally 5m to 10m in diameter. Two cairns on
Turf Knowe were partially excavated between 1995 and 1998. North Knoll cairn
contained two cists and at least 17 cremated bodies, many of these infants.
Turf Knowe cairn was an unusual burial structure dating from the Early Bronze
Age. It contained several cists, one associated with a flint tool and part
of a Bronze Age pot known as a Food Vessel and another contained cremated
bone and a fragment of an iron spear tip. A radio-carbon date of AD 500 from
a hearth within this cairn showed that there was also post-Roman activity at
the cairn. A third round cairn, situated to the east of the defended
settlement on Wether Hill, was excavated between 1996 and 1997 and was shown
to have been robbed in the past.

Several different forms of prehistoric settlements are visible at Ingram
Farm, representing all known settlement types in the Cheviots, including hut
circle settlements, palisaded settlements, defended settlements and enclosed
settlements. The earliest, thought to date from the Bronze Age and
associated with the adjacent prehistoric field systems and cairnfields, are
unenclosed hut circle settlements which are visible in a variety of forms.
There are at least 15 individual unenclosed settlements, ranging in size from
individual huts, to groups of between two and four houses. The hut circles
take a variety of forms, although most are stone based and visible as low
walls or banks surrounding a circular floor area. Individual houses range in
size from about 5m to 10.5m in diameter. The sites of several other houses
are visible as level platforms created as level stances for houses,
accompanied by a spread of stone and rubble up to 0.6m high. Many are set
into the natural hillslope with a visible back scarp up to 0.8m high and
several are set into earlier lynchets and terraces. Other unenclosed
settlements were of timber construction and are visible as shallow circular
grooves in which the wall timbers were placed.

The remains of at least six Iron Age palisaded settlements survive at the
monument. These are small defensive enclosures visible as roughly circular
trenches which formed the settings for substantial palisades. The first lies
within a later prehistoric enclosure situated on the gentle south east facing
slopes of Ingram Hill. Excavation in 1939 revealed the narrow trench of a
circular palisade, which survived 0.3m wide and deep. In 1995, a detailed
survey of the defended settlement on Wether Hill identified a palisaded
settlement approximately 60m in diameter within the defences of the later
settlement. The remains of what are thought to be two further palisaded
enclosures were uncovered by excavation 200m north east of the defended
settlement on Wether Hill between 1994 and 1998. Unlike those on Ingram and
Wether Hills, neither of these two settlements had been strengthened by
defensive ramparts. The first, and most northerly palisade, measured 20m by
16m in diameter and contained the partial remains of a ring groove house. A
date of 250 BC was established by radio-carbon dating. The second,
contiguous palisade trench was dated to 200 BC and contained the remains of a
circular post built roundhouse about 4.5m in diameter. In 2000, two further
palisaded settlements were uncovered by excavation on the lower slopes of
Wether Hill, about 1km north east of the hillfort. One enclosure overlaps
the other and excavation revealed that each enclosure contained a stone round
house. Radio-carbon dating has shown that the house associated with the
first palisaded enclosure was dated to the mid to late Iron Age, while the
house associated with the second palisaded enclosure was dated to the
Romano-British period.

Three defended settlements of Iron Age date are visible at Brough Law, Middle
Dean and Wether Hill. Brough Law hillfort occupies a defensible position on
the summit of the hill where it commands views across the River Breamish and
surrounding countryside. It is visible as a sub-circular enclosure 68m by
54m within a substantial stone wall with a double outer face 3.5m to 5.5m
wide and a maximum of six courses high. There is a splayed entrance through
the east side 4m wide. Within the interior of the settlement, three stone
founded hut circles are visible. An outer wall, up to 5m wide, provides
additional defence around the more vulnerable south side. There are
staggered entrances through these walls in the east and ESE. The settlement
was partially excavated in 1971 when a radio-carbon date indicated its
construction during the later centuries of the first millennium BC.
Approximately 40m south of the outer wall, there is an outwork visible as an
earthen bank 4m wide and 0.7m high with an outer ditch 0.5m deep and 4m wide.
The outwork was partially excavated in 1999 when details of its structural
sequence were revealed.

A second defended settlement known as Middle Dean camp is situated 1.8km
south east of Brough Law. It occupies a promontory defined on two sides by
precipitous slopes and on the north, west and north east sides by two
prominent ramparts. Semi-circular in shape, the settlement has maximum
dimensions of 60m north east to south west by 45m within two ramparts of
earth and stone. The ramparts are 7m apart, 6m wide, and stand to a maximum
height of 2m. The outer rampart retains evidence of its original outer
facing stones. There is an entrance through the outer rampart in the north
west side some 2.9m wide, with the remains of lining slabs in situ. A second
entrance through both ramparts is visible in the eastern side. Within the
enclosure, there are the remains of at least five hut circles visible as
circular platforms, ranging in size from 7m to 10m in diameter.

The third defended settlement is situated 900m ESE of Middledean Camp, on the
summit of Wether Hill, where it commands panoramic views in all directions
but the south west. Wether hillfort is sub-circular in shape and 70m in
diameter within two ramparts of stone and earth. The inner rampart is a
maximum of 7.4m wide and its outer scarp stands to 1.8m high. The outer
rampart is 6.5m wide with an outer scarp up to 1.1m high. Entrances are
visible in the north west and north east sides. Within the interior, the
remains of at least 17 timber-built roundhouses and three stone-built houses
are visible. The settlement is of more than one phase and spans the Early
Iron Age to the Romano-British period. A trackway, thought to be
contemporary with the use of the hillfort, is visible leading from the north
to the western entrance of the fort; partial excavation of the trackway in
1996 showed that a natural terrace had partly been used in its construction.


During the Iron Age not all of the population lived within these large
nucleated defended settlements; there are also the remains of at least 15
late prehistoric or Romano-British enclosed settlements or farms which
generally date from the later first century BC and the early first century
AD. These farms fall into two main groupings. The first is a nucleated
complex of farms situated on Haystacks Hill approximately 450m north east of
Middle Dean settlement. The complex extends from the shoulder of Ewe Hill
down gentle east-facing slopes, where a medieval field system has partially
encroached onto the group. At least seven individual enclosed settlements
have been identified here, and between and beyond several of the enclosures
there are the remains of further walls and round houses which are thought to
represent the partial remains of others. The settlements are visible as a
series of irregularly shaped enclosures of varying sizes. The largest is
rectilinear in shape and measures 75m by 32m, while the smallest, oval in
shape, measures 15.5m by 12.5m. All are defined by stone walls standing to
between 0.3m and 1.8m high, which are spread to between 2m and 6m wide.
There are entrances through the east or south east walls of the enclosures.
Most are divided internally by the remains of fragmentary banks and most
contain scooped courtyards visible as prominent depressions approximately 10m
across. Each enclosure also contains between two and six circular houses.
The houses are visible as level circular areas ranging in size from 3.5m to
7.5m, within walls between 0.2m and 0.9m high and spread to between 2m and
4.5m wide.

The second, more dispersed group of Romano-British farmsteads is situated on
the south and east facing spur of Brough Law, north of Ewe Hill. At least
seven individual enclosed settlements occupy an area of approximately 50 sq
m. They vary in form, but are generally oval or rectilinear in shape, and
some are scooped into the natural slopes. All are bounded by earth and stone
walls on average 2m-3m wide, standing to between 0.5m and 1.7m high. All but
one shows evidence of internal subdivision and contains the remains of
stone-built round houses. A single partially enclosed settlement also
survives south of the summit of Cochrane Pike. It is visible as a
sub-rectangular enclosure within an earth and stone bank 0.5m high and spread
to 10m wide with an outer ditch. The south side of the enclosure uses a
steep natural scarp as its boundary. The enclosure contains the remains of
at least seven round house platforms from 4m to 10m in diameter.

Prehistoric field systems, some incorporating hut circles, funerary cairns
and cairnfields are widespread. They are most visible on the gentle east and
west facing slopes of Ewe Hill between the Ramshaw Burn and the River
Breamish where they remain largely undisturbed by later activity. Further to
the south and east, they are partially overlain by an extensive medieval
field system. Two less extensive areas of prehistoric agricultural remains
are situated on the east-facing slopes of both Wether Hill and Brough Law
immediately below the defended settlements which occupy their summits. The
prehistoric field systems are visible as small plots bounded by discontinuous
banks of earth and stone; the boundaries are on average 2m to 2.5m wide and
stand to between 0.3m to 0.6m high. On sloping ground, prehistoric
cultivation has caused soil movement down slope and marked steps along the
contour. Known as lynchets they measure approximately 2m to 3m wide and up
to 0.8m high. Many of these lynchets have been enhanced giving a terraced
effect. These fields form the earliest recognisable evidence for agriculture
on Ingram Farm and demonstrate its occurrence on a reasonably large scale.

On the ridge, which runs northwards from the defended settlement on Wether
Hill, there is part of a cord rig field system; prehistoric cultivation in
which crops were grown on narrow ridges subdivided by furrows. The cord rig
is visible as slight earthworks approximately 1.4m wide between furrows and
standing to a maximum height of 0.3m. It forms the periphery of what is
thought to be a large 'smoothed area', which has been cleared of stone, and
is associated with a lynchet created by soil movement from the cord rig
ploughing. It is thought that the cord rig is contemporary with the defended
settlement on Wether Hill.

At least seven separate prehistoric cairnfields have been identified among
the remains of the field systems between the Ramshaw Burn and the River
Breamish. These are visible as groups of cairns sited in close proximity to
one another, and built of stone cleared from surrounding areas to improve its
use for agriculture. More than 200 individual cairns have been identified,
many of which are thought to be associated with the field systems, and in
some cases they overlie earlier lynchets or terraces. The cairnfields range
in size from small groups of closely spaced cairns, to extensive dispersed
groupings comprising more than 20. They are thought to consist largely of
clearance cairns, but funerary cairns are also present. Most appear to be
randomly placed and no obvious patterning of the cairns can be identified.
In 1999 one small cairn from within this group, situated on the ridge running
south of Brough Law, was partially excavated in order to establish its exact
nature; the cairn was found to be deliberately constructed and is thought to
be funerary in origin.

As well as prehistoric settlement and agriculture, there is evidence of
significant prehistoric land division on Ingram Farm. Linear boundaries are
substantial earthworks comprising single or multiple ditches and banks, which
extend over considerable distances. Their scale implies that they were
constructed by large social groupings and were used to mark important
boundaries in the landscape.

An extensive linear boundary runs in a north-easterly direction from Chesters
Burn over Ewe Hill, through Turf Knowe, towards the present village of
Ingram. Beyond the cairn on Ewe Hill, the boundary has been incorporated
into the later medieval field system and is overlain by a medieval head dyke.
To the west of this the boundary is visible in a variety of forms, but in
general is a low earthen bank approximately 2m wide and standing to an
average of 0.5m high. Granite boulders project through it in places. The
linear boundary incorporates a number of Bronze Age round cairns, indicating
that the boundary is later in date than the round cairns. Partial excavation
in 1994 and 1995 demonstrated that the construction of the boundary differed
along its length from a low earthen bank and shallow ditch to a more
substantial stone wall; these differences in construction are thought to be
associated with the differing land use through which it ran.

A second linear boundary, visible as a substantial double-ditched linear
earthwork, links the Ramshaw Burn with Middledean Burn. This is visible as a
substantial, sinuous, double-banked feature with a medial ditch; each bank
has been spread to approximately 4m and the ditch is between 1m to 2m wide
and stands to a maximum height of 2m above the bottom of the ditch. These
two major boundaries, which take account of the differing topography, serve
to divide the area of the scheduling into three separate areas, each of which
is occupied by one of the major Iron Age defended settlements of Brough Law,
Middledean Burn and Wether Hill. It is considered that these three areas
formed three prehistoric territories, which encompassed the full extent of
the scheduling.

A cross-ridge dyke, visible as a double banked linear earthwork with a medial
ditch, is situated immediately south west of the defended settlement on
Wether Hill, where it demarcates the spur of Wether Hill from Cochrane Pike.
Cross ridge dykes are thought to be used as territorial markers which
demarcate land within communities. It is more than 300m long, 4.5m wide and
stands to a maximum height of 1.2m above the base of a ditch up to 1.2m wide.
Partial excavation in 1994 identified the presence of three stake holes in
the outer scarp of the north bank and found that the original profile of the
ditch was a V-shape. A date of approximately 200 BC for its construction was
established. A second date suggests that the dyke remained in use until at
least the end of the Roman period when it was abandoned.

The overall complex of post-Roman to post-medieval remains includes an
extensive medieval field system, a prominent post-medieval pasture boundary
and numerous seasonal huts, houses, sheep pens and shielings.

By at least the mid-13th century, documentary evidence shows that Ingram was
a member of the Barony of Alnwick held by Gilbert de Umfraville. Arable
cultivation is thought to have been the most important aspect of agriculture
at this time. The remains of an extensive field system are visible across
large areas of the monument. The field system is bounded on the north by a
prominent medieval head dyke which overlies and continues the course of the
major prehistoric linear boundary, which runs from Chesters Burn to the north
of the Ingram Hill settlement. The field system is bounded on the south by
Fawdon Dean. The field system partially overlies part of the prehistoric and
Romano-British remains, although in many places the boundaries of the later
field system respect those of the prehistoric period, and prehistoric
features are visible within and around its edges. The field system is
associated with large areas of broad ridge and furrow cultivation; the ridges
are between 4m and 14m wide between the centre of the furrows. Where the
slopes are steep, the cultivation follows the contours forming lynchets.
Lynchets are most prominent across the east face of Wether Hill above the
Fawdon Burn where they are a maximum of 2m high. The remains of at least six
steep terraces are visible on the steep north west facing slopes above the
Middledean Burn, south of Ingram Hill settlement; they are approximately 5m
to 7m wide and 1.5m high. The field banks at the edge of, and within, the
ridge and furrow are up to 3m wide and stand to a height of 0.6m. On the
steep north west-facing slopes of Cochrane Pike, the field system is less
well developed and is thought to represent the limit of medieval cultivation.

The field system extends north onto the eastern part of the Brough Law spur
and beyond to the flood plain, below where its nature is defined by the
constraints of the terrain. It is visible in this area as a series of small
regular and irregular plots, bounded by several linear banks of roughly
coursed stones 1m to 2.5m wide and between 0.3m and 0.7m high. Within these
fields, extensive areas of rig and furrow are visible ranging between 5m and
12m wide between the centre of the furrows.

By 1353, in common with most of Northumberland, documents record the decline
of the manor due to the raids and devastation resulting from the wars with
Scotland, and the effects of population decline. Fewer residents are
recorded, most of whose holdings are described as being waste. The decline
continued, and by the mid-17th century documents record a change from arable
to pastoral agriculture. Several earthen banks are visible which overlie the
medieval cultivation and are clearly later in date, one of which extends from
near the Middledean defended settlement to the Ingram Hill settlement; these
boundaries are interpreted as pasture boundaries and indicate that the
post-medieval pastoralism occurred within large enclosures.

Many rectangular buildings of varying sizes, occurring singly and in groups,
are scattered across Ingram Farm; many are small, seasonally occupied huts
called shielings, built to provide shelter for herdsmen and their families
who tended grazing animals on summer pasture lands. Although some are
thought to be early medieval in date, many are associated with this late
medieval and post-medieval phase of pastoralism. The remains include
longhouses and associated paddocks; two buildings situated on the north bank
of Middledean Burn, overlying the medieval ridges, are typical of such
buildings. They are visible as the footings of two rectangular enclosures
measuring 11m and 8m by 4m respectively. Partial excavation of one of these
structures in 1999 suggested that it had partially been used for iron
working. Several other small groups of rectangular buildings are visible,
most notably within the Middledean and Ingram Hill settlements, at the
confluence of the Chesters and the Ramshaw Burn and below the steep slopes of
Brough Law, above the River Breamish. A complex of rectangular structures
and yards situated within the medieval field system on the west side of
Middledean Burn is considered medieval in date.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: all gate
posts, fences lines and maintained stone walls, all feeding troughs, Ingram
Hill farmstead and associated buildings and the telephone posts and cables
around the northern end of the monument. However, the ground beneath these
features is included. The small plantation immediately north of Middledean
defended settlement is totally excluded from the scheduling; both above and
below ground.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

In a densely settled and highly developed country such as England the
landscapes of all but the most bleak mountain summits are, to varying
degrees, the product of centuries and millennia of human development. Except
in areas today considered to be marginal, most traces of the earliest stages
in this process have been erased or modified by later development and survive
in a fragmentary manner. The prehistoric settlement remains that survive
beyond the margins of cultivation in upland areas such as the Cheviots,
provide a rare opportunity of studying the first steps taken by prehistoric
communities in claiming and shaping the landscape. Their partial re-use and
adaptation by successive communities up to the present day present a complete
picture of land use history in the region.

The Breamish Valley is one the main valleys draining the Cheviot Massif and,
because of comprehensive field survey during the 1980s, it is also one of the
best recorded upland areas in England. The field evidence for human activity
within the valley is diverse and spans at least five millennia from the
Neolithic to the post-medieval period. Of particular importance are the
well-preserved and extensive upland prehistoric remains including
settlements, field systems and cairnfields. On the enclosed land within the
valley archaeological remains are more fragmentary, but they survive
sufficiently well to show that human activity extended below what is now open
fell land.

The multi-period remains on Ingram Farm provide one of the finest examples of
successive adaption in England. The rich archaeological remains are
exceptionally well-preserved and largely undisturbed by modern farming. The
evidence of re-use of earlier features by successive groups illustrates the
ways by which prehistoric and later communities regarded the landscape, and
the remains they encountered from its earlier users. The diversity of
surviving features demonstrates the major phases of prehistoric to
post-medieval land use in the Cheviots. The excellent survival of
prehistoric remains gives a rare insight into an unusually long development
of activities in considerable detail and over a sufficiently extensive area
to demonstrate variations over time. These include population levels,
farming methods, the size of agricultural and social units and the important
role of the topography in the organisation of these factors.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
ASUD And NAG, , 'The Breamish Valley Archaeology Project' in The Breamish Valley Archaeology Project Annual Report 2000, (2001)
ASUD And NAG, , 'The Breamish Valley Archaeology Project' in The Breamish Valley Archaeology Project Annual Report 2000, (2001)
Other
NT 91 SE 38,
NT 91 SE 5,
NT91NE 236,
NT91NE 237,
NT91NE 238,
NT91NE 239,
NT91NE 241,
NT91NE 243,
NT91NE 244,
NT91NE 248,
NT91NE 249,
NT91NE 251,
NT91NE 252,
NT91NE 266,
NT91NE 29,
NU 01 NW 100,
NU 01 NW 101,
NU 01 NW 102,
NU 01 NW 103,
NU 01 NW 107,
NU 01 NW 110,
NU 01 NW 111,
NU 01 NW 113,
NU 01 NW 123,
NU 01 NW 23,
NU 01 NW 24,
NU 01 NW 25,
NU 01 NW 28,
NU 01 NW 36,
NU 01 NW 37,
NU 01 NW 38,
NU 01 NW 41,
NU 01 NW 42,
NU 01 NW 57,
NU 01 NW 76,
NU 01 NW 77,
NU 01 NW 79,
NU 01 NW 80,
NU 01 NW 81,
NU 01 NW 82,
NU 01 NW 83,
NU 01 NW 85,
NU 01 NW 86,
NU 01 NW 89,
NU 01 NW 90,
NU 01 NW 91,
NU 01 NW 92,
NU 01 NW 93,
NU 01 NW 94,
NU 01 NW 95,
NU 01 NW 96,
NU 01 NW 97,
NU 01 NW 98,
NU 01 NW 99,
NU 01 SW 1,
NU 01 SW 103,
NU 01 SW 105,
NU 01 SW 110,
NU 01 SW 2,
NU 01 SW 24,
NU 01 SW 3,
NU 01 SW 60,
NU 01 SW 61,
NU 01 SW 62,
NU 01 SW 63,
NU 01 SW 64,
NU 01 SW 65,
NU 01 SW 71,
NU 01 SW 72,
NU 01 SW 73,
NU 01 SW 82,
NU01NW 108,
NU01NW 114,
NU01NW 22,
NU01NW 41,
NU01NW 74,
NU01NW 75,
NU01NW 82,
NU01NW 88,
NU01SW 27,
Title: SE Cheviot Survey 9914
Source Date: 1980
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
1:2500
Title: SE Cheviot Survey NT 9914
Source Date: 1980
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
1:2500
Title: SE Cheviot Survey NT 9914
Source Date: 1980
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
1:2500
Title: SE Cheviot Survey
Source Date: 1980
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
1:2500
Topping, P, Excavation and Survey at Wether Hill Interim reports 1994-98,

Source: Historic England

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