Romano-British enclosure and two adjoining fields on Westwood Common, 510m south west of Blackmill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013999

Date first listed: 21-Jun-1978

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Romano-British enclosure and two adjoining fields on Westwood Common, 510m south west of Blackmill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Oct-2018 at 19:03:50.


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

District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Beverley

District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Walkington

National Grid Reference: TA 01602 38862


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.

Field systems may be found in association with farmsteads and settlements of the same period, and are defined upon strict morphological criteria: whether they are regular or irregular, square, rectangular, aggregate, dispersed or coaxial, which are arranged on a single prevailing axis. Regular aggregate field systems of the Romano-British period are laid out in a block, approximately at right angles to one another, and usually have a settlement as a focal point. The survival of a sufficiently large block of fields is normally required to make a precise definition of their type. This monument is one of a closely associated group of prehistoric earthworks on Westwood Common, which include both square and round barrows, as well as Romano-British enclosures, linear boundary dykes and a short section of Roman road. The group has survived as part of a rare landscape characterised by features dating back as far as the Bronze Age, which has owed its survival to the granting of common grazing rights to the local people of Beverley in the 14th century AD. The survival of such an extensive area of prehistoric earthworks is unusual in this region of East Yorkshire, where arable agricultural practices have resulted in the destruction of many earthwork remains of monuments above ground. It offers important insights into ancient land use and territorial divisions for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in this area, and the development of these through time. This small defended settlement dating to the period of the Roman occupation survives in good condition, and retains a considerable portion of surviving defensive banks and ditches, enclosing a settlement area within, which will retain archaeological information relating to the period of its occupation. The survival of two fields adjoining the enclosed settlement and clearly related to it, is unusual and important in offering a more complete picture of the subsistence economy of native rural communities during the Romano-British period in this area. Its relationship to another, possibly contemporary defended settlement, 700m to the north west in Burton Bushes, is similarly important for the insights it offers into territorial divisions during this period.


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


The monument includes a Romano-British defended enclosure on Westwood Common, Beverley, 510m south west of Blackmill. It is part of an important group of prehistoric earthworks surviving together on Westwood Common, which represents a sizeable area of land in which prehistoric earthworks have survived because of the establishment of common grazing rights here in the 14th century AD. The enclosure is approximately oval in shape, orientated north west to south east, measuring some 230m long by a maximum of 150m wide. It is defended by a single bank and outer ditch, which are conspicuous at its northern and north western side, but which all but disappear towards the south and south east, merging with the local topography, which slopes downhill to the south east. On the eastern and north eastern side, there is a triple bank and ditch system up to 20m in total width, with the inner two banks reaching heights up to 1.5m and 3m - 5m in width. At the north western end these reduce into a double bank and ditch, which meet the single bank and ditch of the north western side in what is an original entrance. Here the banks are up to 5m wide and 1.5m high, with the outer ditch up to a metre in depth and 3m in width. A hollow trackway winds up from the south east to meet with the defended enclosure on its eastern side. The remains of two rectangular enclosures adjoin the north eastern side of the enclosure, representing fields cultivated during the period of occupation of the settlement. These survive as low earthwork remains, barely visible on the ground, but they are more evident from aerial photographs of the area. They are 200m north east - south west in total, by 100m north west - south east, the field adjoining the settlement on its north eastern side being the longer, measuring about 130m.

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: 26567

Legacy System: RSM


Bastow, M.E., AM107, (1987)
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)
Mackay, Rodney , (1995)

End of official listing