Manside defended settlement and medieval cross


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


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1007521.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 22-Jun-2021 at 08:10:47.


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

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NY 98475 92074

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 medieval cross at Manside is thought to be an example of a wayside cross. These form one of several types of Christian crosses erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th-15th centuries AD. In addition to their function of reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in a difficult and unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or on routes which might have a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions. All wayside crosses which survive as earth-fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, will normally be identified as nationally important.

The settlement at Manside survives exceptionally well and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is one of very few multiple ditched Romano-British monuments in Northumberland; its unusual form is of added interest and it will contribute to any study of late prehistoric and Romano-British settlement and activity.


The monument includes an Iron Age defended settlement and a medieval cross situated in an elevated position on the eastern end of a ridge. The settlement, rectangular in shape, is 55m east-west by 58m north-south, within three ramparts of earth and stone separated by two ditches. All three ramparts are very well preserved and are on average 1m high and 6m wide. The ditches are between 6m to 9m wide and are on average 1m deep. The settlement was partially excavated in 1959 and 1960; it was shown that all three of the ramparts were faced with a stone revetment on the sides facing the ditches and that the innermost ditch was the earliest of the two. A wooden fence or palisade had been constructed upon the outermost rampart. Excavation also uncovered the foundations of two stone round houses within the interior and two pieces of Roman pottery dated to the second century AD. The settlement was clearly occupied in the Roman period but the existence of a palisade and multiple ramparts suggests that the monument may be of more than one phase and it is thought to have its origins in the prehistoric period immediately preceding the Roman invasion of Britain.

Immediately outside the north east angle of the settlement there is the socket stone of a medieval cross; it is rectangular in shape and measures 87cm by 76cm and is 52cm high. There is a socket hole in the centre 21cm deep. In the socket there is a stone shaft which is thought to be the remains of the medieval cross reused in post-medieval times as a boundary stone when modern initials were carved onto one of its surfaces. Manside cross is first mentioned in the Border Survey of 1604 when it is referred to as Manns' Head, and is also depicted on later maps.

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


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Hope-Dodds, M, The Victoria History of the County of Northumberland: Volume XV, (1940), 56
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 3 ser 10' in A New List of the Native Sites in Northumberland, (1947), 169
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectlinear Settlements of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1960), 33
NY 99 SE 05,
NY 99 SE 06,


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].