Romano-British enclosed settlement and medieval settlement 300m south of Burdhope


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011904

Date first listed: 18-Jun-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Aug-1994


Ordnance survey map of Romano-British enclosed settlement and medieval settlement 300m south of Burdhope
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Nov-2018 at 14:45:06.


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

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Rochester


National Grid Reference: NY 81280 98584


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.

Farmsteads, comprising small groups of buildings with attached yard, gardens and enclosures, were a charcteristic feature of the medieval rural landscape. In some areas of dispersed settlement they were the predominant settlement form; elsewhere they existed alongside, or were components of more nucleated settlement patterns. The sites of many farmsteads have been occupied down to the present day but others were abandoned as a result of, for example, declining economic viability, enclosure or emparkment, or epidemics like the Black Death. In the northern Border area, recurring cross-border raids and military activites also disrupted agricultural life and led to abandonments. Farmsteads are a common and long lived monument type; the archaeological deposits on those which were abandoned are often well preserved and provide important information on regional and national settlement patterns and farming economies, and on changes in these through time. The enclosed settlement at Birdhope is well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of native settlements in the area and will contribute to any study of the settlement pattern at this time. The medieval farmstead is also well preserved and will contribute to our understanding of rural Border life and warfare during this period.


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


The monument includes the remains of a stone-built enclosed settlement of Romano-British date, overlain by a later medieval settlement, situated on the highest point of a scarp commanding extensive views over the valley of the Rede. The earlier, Romano-British, settlement is visible as the foundations of at least five stone-founded circular houses varying in size from 7m to 9m in diameter within rubble walls 3m wide. Most of the houses have an entrance in their eastern or south eastern sides. Each house, or pair of houses, is contained within, or fronts onto, at least one curvilinear or rectilinear shaped yard up to 20m across. The settlement was reoccupied in the medieval period as the foundations of at least seven long rectangular buildings indicate. They mostly range in length from 10m to 15m but one is 44m long and is thought to be the remains of a medieval timber long house. The remainder of the buildings are likely to be barns and other ancillary buildings. A document records the destruction of `Birdhup' by the Scots in 1584; it is thought that this medieval settlement is the Birdhup referred to.

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: 25087

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hope-Dodds, M, The Victoria History of the County of Northumberland: Volume XV, (1940), 77-8
Hope-Dodds, M, The Victoria History of the County of Northumberland: Volume XV, (1940)
Jobey, G, A Field Guide to Prehistoric Northumberland 2, (1974), 35
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle, (1947), 166
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectlinear Settlements of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1960), 63
Gates, T, (1878)
NY 89 NW 02,

End of official listing