Burwens Romano-British settlement and associated 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)
Crosby Ravensworth
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NY 62186 12262

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.

Burwens is a good example of a Romano-British native settlement with associated fields and enclosures. Its walls and earthworks survive well and preserve considerable detail of the layout of the settlement. It is one of a group of similar settlements at the head of the Lyvennet valley and will contribute to the study of Romano-British settlement patterns in this area.


The monument includes Burwens Romano-British settlement and associated field system. It is located on a gently graded north-facing tongue of land between the Lyvennet Beck and Ravens' Gill. It is one of a number of Romano-British sites surrounding the head of the Lyvennet valley. The Romano-British settlement includes a rectangular enclosure measuring c.67m by 58m. The enclosure wall is up to 2m high with rounded corners and has a gateway on the western side. A trackway enters through the gateway and, once within the enclosure, divides into two. One trackway runs south-east, past a group of hut circles and two isolated huts, one of which is 7.6m in diameter and the largest in the settlement. Openings between these huts lead to sub-rectangular cattle pens. The other trackway, running to the east, passes a curvilinear pen on the left and two huts with forecourts on the right, prior to leading to the north-east corner of the enclosure where more huts and pens are located, including a large triangular pen. To the north, east and south of the enclosure is an associated field system that includes sub-rectangular and curvilinear fields. Two small square enclosures and one triangular enclosure have been added to the outside of the settlement's eastern wall, and a sub-circular enclosure approximately 27m diameter with an entrance on the western side lies a short distance south of the settlement. The settlement and associated field system would have been in use during the Roman conquest of the north. It lies within an area which was 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
Higham, N, Jones, B, The Carvetti, (1985), 132-3
Alcock, L, 'Archaeologia Cambrensis' in Gwyr Y Gogledd, , Vol. CXXXII, (1983), 4
Collingwood, R G, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Prehistoric Settlements in Crosby Ravensworth, , Vol. XXXIII, (1933), 212-4
Collingwood, R G, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Prehistoric Settlements Near Crosby Ravensworth, , Vol. XXXIII, (1932), 212-14
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)
SMR No. 1715, Cumbria SMR, Burwens RB Settlement NE of Crosby Lodge, (1989)


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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