Roman period native settlement, associated field system and trackway, and medieval farmstead 270m south of Torleehouse


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014921

Date first listed: 13-Jan-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Aug-1996


Ordnance survey map of Roman period native settlement, associated field system and trackway, and medieval farmstead 270m south of Torleehouse
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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 91335 28666


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 yards, gardens and enclosures, were a characteristic feature of the medieval rural landscape. They occur throughout the country, the intensity of their distribution determined by local topography and the nature of the agricultural system prevalent within the region. 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. For example, in the northern border areas recurring cross-border raids and military activities 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 Roman period native settlement south of Torleehouse, with its associated field system and trackways, is well preserved and will contain significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of broadly contemporary settlements and enclosures situated on the lower slopes of Easter Tor. The settlement is situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites of high quality and forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. The medieval farmstead is reasonably well preserved and will retain significant archaeological deposits. The monument will contribute significantly to our understanding of the organisation and development of land use and settlement from the Roman to medieval periods.


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


The monument includes a Roman period native settlement situated on the north west slope of Easter Tor. It comprises a double enclosure and is surrounded by an earth and stone bank with many inner and outer facing stones visible. There is an annexe to the south. Remains of a field system and droveway lie adjacent to the settlement and a medieval farmstead lies immediately to the south. The settlement is formed by two roughly circular conjoined enclosures defined by a single bank 3m-4m wide and up to 0.7m high. The northern enclosure measures 23m by 29m and is subdivided by a slight curving bank 2m wide which runs north west to south east and contains several large marker stones. The southern enclosure measures 27m by 27m and is scooped to a maximum depth of 1.2m on the south side. Internally, there is a probable hut platform in the southern corner which measures 8m by 9m. Each enclosure has an entrance, 2m wide, in the north east side which is marked by large stones. To the south is a trapezoidal annexe which measures 50m north west to south east, the west side measures 12m and the east side measures 28m. It is defined on the north and west by a slight revetted bank up to 0.3m high, on the south by a revetted terrace 0.5m high with a trackway behind, and on the east by a bank spread up to 3m wide and up to 0.4m high. There is an entrance, 2.5m wide, in the south side of the annexe. Tucked inside the south east corner of the annexe is a rectangular house platform, 5m by 3.5m. To the east of the settlement is a series of cultivation terraces, c.4m wide and up to 1m high, believed to be contemporary with it. A trackway runs roughly north-south against the eastern side of the settlement and continues past the annexe to the south east. The trackway measures up to 2m wide with an earth and stone bank on the east side, 2m wide and up to 0.5m high. A second trackway runs east-west behind the southern edge of the annexe and measures up to 3m wide. The trackways merge and continue south eastwards as a single track 4m wide with a revetted eastern edge. The track continues beyond the area of the scheduling as a hollow way cut into the hillside and a sample only has been included in the scheduling. Two outlying hut platforms, each 3m in diameter, lie 15m south west of the merged trackway. To the east of the hut platforms lies a shallow sub oval enclosure c.10m by 20m defined on all but the south side by an earth and stone bank spread up to 3m wide and 0.5m high. Internally, at the western end, are the remains of a medieval or later steading. It is aligned east-west, is roughly rectangular in shape and measures 13m by 8m with earth and stone banks spread up to 2m wide and 0.3m high. A small bank of loose stone runs from the steading to the south, it measures 0.75m wide by 0.2m high. The post and wire fence along the west and south sides of the monument and the gate at the east corner are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

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: 24654

Legacy System: RSM


NT 92 NW 24,
NT 92 NW 25,

End of official listing