Romano-British farmstead, 300m north of Buteland


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009675

Date first listed: 20-Feb-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Nov-1994


Ordnance survey map of Romano-British farmstead, 300m north of Buteland
© 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: Birtley

National Grid Reference: NY 87605 81884


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 farmstead at Buteland is well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of similar Romano-British settlements in the area and will contribute to any study of the settlement pattern at this time.


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


The monument includes the remains of a farmstead of Romano-British date situated on a level plateau above the left bank of the River North Tyne with extensive views to the north, north east and west. The farmstead, irregularly shaped, measures 80m east-west by 50m north-south. It is enclosed on the south, east and west sides by a broad ditch ranging from 6m to 10m wide and is a maximum of 1.2m deep. Within the ditch there are traces of an inner bank ranging from 0.2m to 0.5m high and on average 3m wide; a counterscarp bank outside the ditch is of similar dimensions. On the north and north east sides of the enclosure, the ditch has been infilled by later rig and furrow cultivation leaving only an earthen bank on average 5m wide and 0.8m high bounding the enclosure on these sides. The difference in the nature of the enclosing features may suggest that more than one phase is represented at this monument, which may have originally consisted of an oval ditched enclosure with an inner and outer bank. The north eastern stretch of bank has a slight external ditch 0.2m deep. There is an entrance into the enclosure in the centre of the south wall carried across the ditch on a causeway. Two breaks in the northern rampart may also be original entrances. Within the enclosure the remains of at least two stone-founded circular houses are visible as ill- defined stony spreads in the southen part of the enclosure. Additionally, there are two internal dividing banks 0.2m high, each associated with one of the circular houses.

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: 25115

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
MacLaughlan, H, Additional Notes on Roman Roads in Northumberland, (1867), 73
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11' in A New List of the Native Sites of Northumberland, (1946), 170
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectlinear Settlements of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1960)
NY 88 SE 08,

End of official listing