Two Romano-British farmsteads known as Ring Stones


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.

Burnley (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 88649 33006

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.

Aerial photographs have revealed that this monument is a rare example in north west England of juxtaposed Romano-British farmsteads. They are broadly similar to examples further north in Cumbria and Northumberland. These farmsteads are two of four Romano-British farmsteads in the vicinity, each displaying slight differences in plan, and will contribute to any study of Romano-British native settlement patterns in Lancashire and the north of England.


The monument includes two Romano-British farmsteads, one partly overlying the other and therefore of later date, located on gently sloping hillside with extensive views in all directions except the east. They are visible through a combination of upstanding earthworks and aerial photographs, the latter of which highlights features such as infilled ditches. The later of the two farmsteads includes an earth and stone bank or rampart up to 6m wide and 0.5m high which measures 48m along its west side, 33m on its south side, 39m on its east side and 37m on its north side. It is flanked by an outer ditch measuring 3m wide by 0.5m deep. There are two entrances approximately 3m wide on opposite sides; one on the east, the other on the west. To the north east is an annexe approximately 10m square with a bank similar to that enclosing the farmstead. There is an entrance on the south side of the annexe. The aerial photographs show that this annexe originally formed the south east corner of the earlier farmstead which partly underlies the later one. This earlier farmstead measured approximately 50m square and the ditch flanking its south side is still faintly visible as a shallow earthwork running through the later farmstead. Limited antiquarian investigation of the monument in 1888 located foundations of a structure of uncertain function where the later farmstead and annexe join, together with an oven and a quern. Further limited investigation in 1925 found evidence of a cobble floor in the later farmstead together with cobbles placed at one of the entrances. A post and wire fence crossing the extreme western edge of the monument is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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:
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Books and journals
Watkins, W T, Roman Lancashire, (1883), 210
'Trans Lancs & Chesh Antiq Soc' in Proceedings-Stone Circles and Ancient Relicts at Extwistle, , Vol. 9, (1893), 158-9
FMW Report, Capstick, B, Ring Stones Camp, (1990)
In Lancs SMR, Ring Stones Camp,
SMR No. 254, Lancs SMR, Ring Stones Camp, (1994)
Woods,G.A., Report Congr Arch Socs, 1926,


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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