Romano-British farmstead and later steadings, 800m NNW of Ferneyrigg


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009108

Date first listed: 16-Nov-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 13-May-1994


Ordnance survey map of Romano-British farmstead and later steadings, 800m NNW of Ferneyrigg
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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 - 1009108 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 17-Feb-2019 at 11:47:47.


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

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Kirkwhelpington

National Grid Reference: NY 95474 84223

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 farmstead NNW of Ferneyrigg survives well; it is one of a group of similar settlements in the area and will contribute to any study of the settlement pattern at this time. The reuse of the farmstead in the medieval period is of additional interest. Small medieval farmsteads are difficult to identify; many have been destroyed by continued use of individual sites. This is a good example of a deserted farmstead.


The monument includes the remains of a farmstead of Romano-British date situated on a natural rise near the confluence of the Middlerigg and the Ray burns. Remains of later steadings are also included as they lie within and immediately outside the earlier farmstead. The enclosure is roughly square in shape and measures a maximum of 44m east-west by 43m north-south within a stony bank up to 1.5m wide and 0.8m high. The south-east angle of the rampart is much denuded but is traceable as a low stony spread. Within the enclosure there is one rectangular building steading situated against the western rampart; it measures 7m by 4m. Almost immediately outside the enclosure to the south there are further remains of rectangular building steadings where two contiguous rectangular enclosures are visible. The long axis of these steadings lie parallel to the bank enclosing the farmstead. They are of similar size to the steading within the farmstead. In the north east corner of the enclosure there are the remains of a very much later sheep fold. There is an entrance in the south west corner of the farmstead. The presence of the rectangular building steadings indicates a later medieval reuse of the prehistoric enclosure. This medieval settlement was probably associated with the medieval field system, visible as rig and furrow earthworks, which surrounds the farmstead.

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: 20999

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11, (1946), 171

End of official listing