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 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
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