Roman period native enclosed farmstead 370m WNW of Southernknowe


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014491

Date first listed: 22-May-1996


Ordnance survey map of Roman period native enclosed farmstead 370m WNW of Southernknowe
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. 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: Kirknewton


National Grid Reference: NT 88541 24761


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 Roman period native farmstead 370m WNW of Southernknowe is well preserved, despite a later sheepfold built on part of the monument, and will retain significant archaeological deposits. The monument is situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites of high quality and forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. It will make a significant contribution to the study of the wider settlement pattern at this time.


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


The monument includes a Roman period native enclosed farmstead situated on a level platform on the eastern slope of Blackhaggs Rigg above the valley of the College Burn. The settlement comprises two adjoining enclosures linked by an outer enclosure bank which defines an annexe. The northern enclosure is roughly D-shaped and measures internally c.34m north-south by 16m east-west and is overlain by a later sheepfold. This enclosure contains two scooped areas: the northern scoop measures 9m north-south by 10m east-west, is up to 1.8m deep and contains a possible stone setting; the southern scoop is very slight and measures 8m north-south by 6m east-west. The enclosure is contained by a bank of earth and stone 1.5m wide and up to 1m high with an entrance 1.5m wide in the west side. Around the north and west sides of the northern enclosure is an annexe or outer enclosure defined by a bank 3m wide and up to 0.3m high and incorporated into the hillslope on the west; the bank defines a strip of land 10m wide. In the north west corner of the annexe is a raised platform 7m by 5m and 0.3m high. At the south end of the annexe is a 2m wide entrance formed by the gap between the northern and southern enclosures. The southern enclosure is roughly oval and scooped into the hillside on the west to a maximum depth of 2m. The remaining sides consist of a single bank of earth and stone, up to 2.5m wide and 1.3m high, which is a continuation of the south end of the outer enclosure bank; there is an entrance 3m wide in the east side. The internal measurements are 23m north-south by 13m east-west.

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: 24630

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing