Enclosed settlement and subsidiary enclosures 160m N of Ring Chesters defended settlement


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009527

Date first listed: 18-Jun-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Jul-1994


Ordnance survey map of Enclosed settlement and subsidiary enclosures 160m N of Ring Chesters defended settlement
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Kilham


National Grid Reference: NT 86634 29155


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 enclosures to the north of Ring Chesters defended settlement form a well preserved example of a Roman period native settlement and associated enclosures. The entire circuits of the two main enclosures are clearly visible, as are the interior scoops, hut circle foundations and associated yards of the main settlement. The interior of the northernmost enclosure also preserves an important relationship with earlier land use. The site is situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites of high quality and forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. It will contribute to the study of the wider settlement pattern during this period.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


This monument includes a native settlement and associated enclosures dating to the Roman period. It is situated 160m north of Ring Chesters defended settlement, approximately mid-way down the hill slope. The monument consists of two adjacent oval enclosures defined by earth and stone banks and partially scooped into the hillside and a small rectangular enclosure. The southern enclosure formed the main settlement. It contains the remains of interior banks, courtyards and the circular stone foundations of several prehistoric buildings. The northern enclosure has the remains of a small building abutting the exterior on the south side. The rectangular enclosure lies immediately to the south west of the main settlement enclosure and may have functioned as a stock pen. The enclosures overlie the terracing of an earlier field system apparently associated with Ring Chesters defended settlement. The full extent and nature of this field system is not yet fully understood, hence it is not included in the scheduling.

The southernmost oval enclosure is situated on the southern tip of a slight ridge which runs longitudinally NNW-SSE down the north slope of the hill from Ring Chesters. The site is slightly scooped into the ridge to form a level platform, the tip of the natural ridge forms an apron of steep ground to the west of the enclosure. This enclosure forms the main settlement. It encloses a sub-oval area, 60m long and up to 35m wide, and is surrounded by an earth and stone bank 3m wide and up to 1.5m high. The outer face of the enclosure bank is revetted with large boulders. A slight trace of a quarry ditch is visible outside the bank on the south side. The south east side of the enclosure is scooped into the hillside to a depth of 1m and does not have an exterior bank. Two entrances are visible, the main one is in the north east corner of the enclosure, and a second is situated mid-way along the northern bank. The interior of the enclosure is divided into two equal sized compartments by a wide bank. The southern compartment contains the stone foundations of seven prehistoric buildings between 5m and 7.5m in diameter. The buildings are clustered around a small scooped courtyard which opens into a larger courtyard formed by the northern compartment. Two further stone founded hut circles have been built within the enclosure bank to the east of the northern compartment. The entrances to these buildings face outwards from the settlement and the buildings appear to be secondary. A second, smaller, oval enclosure lies c.16m to the north of the above settlement. This site includes an area of 34m by 24m enclosed within an earth and stone bank 3m-4m wide and up to 1m high. The enclosure overlies a set of earlier cultivation terraces which follow the contour of the hill. The south edge of the enclosure is scooped into the hillside and appears to be re-using the line of one of the earlier cultivation terraces, there is no external bank on this side. There is an entrance at the east end. Within the northern section of the enclosure there is a low bank c.13m long aligned SE-NW. Slight traces of the earlier cultivation terraces within the enclosure indicate that it was not used for domestic purposes but may have been a stock enclosure for the main settlement. The circular stone foundations of a building or small pen 7m in diameter are appended to the exterior of the bank on the south west side. At the foot of the ridge of high ground on which the main settlement enclosure is constructed are a series of low, stone revetted banks up to 2m wide. These form part of a rectangular enclosure 17m by 14m with a slightly curving internal bank. This is associated with the main settlement and may have functioned as a small stock enclosure.

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: 24579

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing