Romano-British farmstead, hut-circle and co-axial field system 1.3km north-west of Ferneyrigg


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011103

Date first listed: 16-Nov-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 01-Dec-1993


Ordnance survey map of Romano-British farmstead, hut-circle and co-axial field system 1.3km north-west of Ferneyrigg
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2018 at 17:54:58.


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 95105 84485


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 NW of Ferneyrigg is well preserved and is unusual in retaining evidence for its associated field system. The settlement exhibits more than one phase of activity and will contribute to any study of the wider 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, associated field system and a hut-circle situated on a gently sloping south facing spur. The farmstead is rectangular in shape with rounded corners and measures a maximum of 48m by 35m within pronounced double earth and stone ramparts and a medial ditch. The ditch is 7m wide and has a broad inner rampart which rises 2.5 above the bottom of the ditch and 0.5m above the inside level of the farmstead. Outside the ditch there is a second rampart, 5m broad, which rises 1.2m above the bottom of the ditch and 0.6m above the external ground level. An entrance 8m wide is situated in the centre of the south wall. Within the enclosure, there are the foundations of two circular houses; the first is particularly well preserved; it is constructed of large stones and has a diameter of 7.5m. There are traces of an associated yard attached to its eastern side. The second is 6m in diameter and is situated against the north wall of the farmstead. A low bank emanates from its south-east corner and runs the length of the enclosure. Outside the enclosure at a distance of 22m to the east there is a third circular house 8m in diameter. The walls survive to a height of 1m and there is a clear south facing entrance with the low walls of a forecourt around the entrance. Surrounding the settlement there is a fragment of the associated field system; this comprises a series of stone walls, emanating from all but the north-east corner of the farmstead, and running in a northerly, easterly and westerly direction. The banks are on average 0.5m high and 2m broad. At least one field is defined by two of the walls immediately south of the farmstead; this plot, orientated north-south is roughly 60m by 80m. An arc of small clearance cairns also to the south of the farmstead may be of recent origin, as may be a more substantial cairn situated 35m west of the farmstead. The hut circle which lies outside the enclosure suggests that there may have been an earlier phase of unenclosed settlement on the site and thus more than one phase of activity is represented by the remains.

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: 20998

Legacy System: RSM



End of official listing