Defended settlement, Romano-British settlement and field system 100m south and east of Jenny's Lantern


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NU 12037 15195, NU 12298 15250

Reasons for Designation

During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate), others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD). Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national importance.

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 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 only had 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. 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.

A regular aggregate field system is a group of regularly defined fields of Roman date, laid out in a block or blocks which lie approximately at right angles to each other, usually with a settlement as a focal point. Fields are generally square or rectangular and the blocks give an ordered, if irregular shape to the field system as a whole. They are characteristically extensive monuments; the number of individual fields in recorded examples varies from 2 to approximately 50, but this is, at least in part, a reflection of biases in the archaeological record rather than the true extent of such land divisions during their period of use. A regular aggregate field system represents the most common form of land division recognized so far in Roman Britain and examples are known to have been in use from the 1st to the 5th centuries AD. The fields were the primary units of production in a mixed farming economy, incorporating pastoral, arable and horticultural elements. There are approximately 100 recorded examples of regular aggregate field systems in England. As rare monument types which provide an insight into land division and agricultural practice during the Roman period all well preserved examples will normally be identified as nationally important.

The Iron Age defended settlement, Romano-British settlement and its field system south and east of Jenny's Lantern are extensive and particularly fine examples of their types. Taken together, the Iron Age and Romano-British settlements provide an insight into developing patterns of settlement and land use through time. They are extremely well preserved and will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of prehistoric and Romano-British settlement and agriculture. The importance of the Romano-British settlement is enhanced by the survival of part of its field system. Such survivals are rare and this very well preserved one is a valuable addition to their number.


The monument includes the remains of a defended settlement of Iron Age date and a stone-built settlement with part of its field system of Romano-British date, occupying an area of high ground with a southerly aspect. It is divided into two separate areas. The defended settlement, roughly oval in shape, is situated on a spur immediately below the highest point of the hill. It measures 100m north east to south west by 68m north west to south east within two earthen ramparts 5m wide, two ditches and a slight counterscarp bank. The outer rampart stands to a height of 1.5m on the north west side and the inner rampart varies in height from 0.3m to 0.6m. The ditches are on average 6m wide. There are clear entrances through the north east and the south west corners of the enclosure. Within the enclosure there are the stone foundations of at least three prehistoric circular houses measuring 4m-6m in diameter, and associated fragments of stone walling 0.2m high; these remains are thought to represent reuse of the settlement during the Romano-British period. Limited excavations in 1885 uncovered part of a quern-stone, a stone hand-mill for grinding corn. Its present location is unknown. Immediately east of the defended settlement, situated on the brow of the hill, there is an extensive Romano-British settlement and part of its field system. The settlement comprises seven irregular embanked enclosures and the remains of up to 15 stone-founded houses. Beginning at the eastern end of the settlement there are two conjoining curvilinear enclosures. The most easterly is 25m by 40m internally containing the remains of four stone houses ranging in size from 5m to 10m in diameter with a sub-circular scooped yard, 18m in diameter, at the rear. All of the houses have a clearly visible entrance in the south or south east side. The second enclosure measures 36m by 50m internally with an entrance in the south wall; it contains the remains of four circular houses 8m to 11m in diameter situated towards the southern end of the enclosure. Immediately to the south there is a third enclosure; it is rectangular in shape and defined by a bank 3m wide and a sharply cut external ditch. This enclosure is clearly a later construction as its northern bank has been built on the south wall of the first enclosure. Further south, immediately on the edge of a crag, lies the fourth enclosure, curvilinear in shape and measuring 16m by 18m, with an entrance in its north wall allowing access to it from the rest of the settlement. Some 18m east of this enclosure there is a fifth enclosure, rectangular in shape, measuring 35m by 20m and containing a rectangular yard along its south wall which is fronted by the remains of three stone houses 8m-9m in diameter. The sixth enclosure is situated 15m north east of this. It is also rectangular in shape, measures 32m by 16m internally and contains the remains of four stone houses, on average 7m in diameter. This enclosure has been partially levelled but there are still sufficient archaeological remains to allow the reconstruction of its layout. An outlying hut circle, 8m in diameter and immediately to the east, is attached to a fragment of stone walling. Surrounding the settlement on the south and east sides there are the remains of several of the fields cleared and worked by the inhabitants of the settlement. This field system contains three irregular, rectangular fields defined by long boundaries of rubble or boulders orientated north-south along the line of maximum slope. They are bounded on the north by short cross walls and on the south by a natural steep slope. The fields range in size from 0.24ha to 1.3ha but one is not completely enclosed. South of the most easterly field there is a seventh enclosure, curvilinear in shape, which measures 23m by 12m. It contains one hut circle 5m across in the south west corner, and there are traces of a small enclosure in the north east corner.

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
Gates, T, Ainsworth, S, Jenny's Lantern Settlement, (1981)
Gates, T, 'Rural Settlement in the Roman North CBA GP 3' in Farming on the Frontier: R-B fields in Northumberland, (1982)
Hardy, J, 'Hist Berwickshire Natur Club part 1' in , (1885), 310-11
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 61
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana, 4 ser 42' in Enclosed Stone Built Settlements in Northumberland, (1964), 64
Gates, T and Ainsworth, S, Field Survey in Northumberland pt 2, (1981)
includes plan at 1:1250, Gates, T & Ainsworth, S, Field Survey in Northumberland pt 2, (1981)


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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