Skirsgill Romano-British enclosed stone hut circle settlement, Romano-British farmstead, and Romano-British regular aggregate field system


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Eden (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NY 49909 23267

Reasons for Designation

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 monument is a rare example in Cumbria of a juxtaposed Romano-British enclosed stone hut circle settlement, Romano-British farmstead, and a Romano-British regular aggregate field system. The earthworks survive well, preserve considerable detail of the layout of the site, and will facilitate the study of Romano-British settlement patterns in the area.


The monument includes a Romano-British enclosed stone hut circle settlement, a smaller Romano-British farmstead, and a Romano-British regular aggregate field system. It is located on the east facing slopes of Skirsgill Hill. The enclosed stone hut circle settlement includes an oval enclosure bank 2.5m wide and up to 0.5m high that is sub-divided into three distinct areas. The southern section contains two irregularly-shaped sub-enclosures or stock pens separated from the middle section by a line of low limestone outcrop. There is an entrance to the westerly of these sub-enclosures through the south-west side of the enclosure bank. The middle section contains five hut circles - the largest having a diameter of 5.4m - and a rectilinear structure. The main entrance is located in the east side of the enclosure bank but a secondary entrance also lies on the west side. The northern section of the settlement contains four irregularly-shaped sub-enclosures or stock pens. Three of these sub-enclosures have entrances through the enclosure bank. The western sub- enclosure also has an entrance from the middle section. Access to the fourth sub-enclosure is from the westerly sub-enclosure. A narrow track and bank flanks the enclosure on the south and west sides, and rectilinear earthworks flank the enclosure on its south-west and north-east sides. Approximately 270m to the north-east of this enclosed stone hut circle settlement is a smaller Romano-British farmstead located on the level top of a flat spur. This includes a roughly circular enclosure bank sub-divided into four irregularly-shaped enclosures or stock pens, two of which contain hut circles which abut the main enclosure wall. The farmstead is approached from the east by a slightly sunken track with traces of walls on either side, the north wall of which continues to form the main enclosure wall of the farmstead. There are other lengths of wall to the north and west of the farmstead. On slightly lower ground between the enclosed stone hut circle settlement and the farmstead are traces of a Romano-British regular aggregate field system. This field system includes three groups of lynchets, one group approximately 65m long running north-south and abutting onto a second group up to 120m long running east-west, with a third group up to 75m long aligned north-east - south-west. The monument would have been in use during the Roman occupation of the north. It lies within an area occupied by the Carvetii tribe. All modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Quartermaine, J, Askham Fell Survey Catalogue, (1992), 38
Spence, J E, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in An Early Settlement Near Askham, (1935), 61-6
Spence, J E, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in An Early Settlement Near Askham, (1935), 61-6
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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