Prehistoric enclosure and trackway, and a Romano-British farmstead WNW of Fingland


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013507

Date first listed: 23-Apr-1979

Date of most recent amendment: 31-Aug-1995


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric enclosure and trackway, and a Romano-British farmstead WNW of Fingland
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 13-Dec-2018 at 14:10:52.


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

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale (District Authority)

Parish: Bowness

National Grid Reference: NY 25115 57259


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.

Prehistoric enclosures are plots of land usually enclosed by stone walls or banks of stone and earth in upland areas, and banks of earth or a timber palisade with an external ditch in lowland areas. Many date to the Bronze Age (c.2000 - 500 BC) although earlier and later examples also exist. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to accommodate animal shelters or hut circle settlements. The size and form of prehistoric enclosures may therefore vary considerably, depending upon their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity, and their relationship to other monument classes provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices among prehistoric communities. Prehistoric trackways are unmetalled routeways, of varying length, used as a means of access or communication. They survive in the form of a series of low earthworks, parallel crop/soil marks, hollow ways, modern footpaths and hedgerows. Occasionally there are parallel ditches or banks to either side. Trackways are dated almost entirely by association with the settlements they served. They were maintained solely by usage and had no rigid boundaries. When they ceased to be used they were incorporated into the surrounding landscape with varying degrees of rapidity and thus surviving examples are rare. Known examples which partly survive as earthworks are largely confined to marginal agricultural land which has been given over to pasture or meadowland over many centuries. In areas which have been more intensively farmed trackways are recognised principally as crop/soil marks on aerial photographs. Trackways provide important information on how the wider landscape was used. The prehistoric enclosure and trackway, and the Romano-British farmstead WNW of Fingland survive reasonably well despite the absence of any upstanding earthworks. The fact that the Romano-British farmstead overlies the earlier prehistoric enclosure demonstrates that this discrete plot of slightly elevated land was occupied over a considerable period of time. The monument is one of a number of similar sites identified by aerial photography in the Solway Plain area in recent years and it will contribute to any further study of prehistoric and Romano-British settlement patterns in the area.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric enclosure and associated trackway together with a later Romano-British farmstead which all lie on very slightly elevated ground to the WNW of Fingland. The site is visible as crop marks on aerial photographs which highlight features such as infilled ditches. The aerial photographs show an oval-shaped prehistoric ditched enclosure measuring approximately 60m by 45m internally. On the eastern side of this enclosure the aerial photographs show a short length of prehistoric trackway with side ditches. A sub-rectangular Romano-British farmstead measuring approximately 30m by 25m internally can be seen to be overlying the south eastern part of the prehistoric enclosure on the aerial photographs and is thus of a later date than the enclosure. This indicates that the site has a history of multi-period occupation. There is an entrance close to the north eastern side of the farmstead whilst internally the farmstead contains a smaller enclosure also with an entrance close to its north eastern corner. Fieldwalking across the site in 1982 found Romano-British pottery. All modern field boundaries and gateposts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them 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: 27665

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bewley, R H, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Fieldwalking In The Solway Plain, , Vol. LXXXV, (1985), 255-6
AP No. RB 107,1, Bewley, RH,
AP No. RB 88,7, Bewley, RH,

End of official listing