Roman period native enclosed settlement 600m north east of Elsdonburn Shank


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015195

Date first listed: 22-May-1996


Ordnance survey map of Roman period native enclosed settlement 600m north east of Elsdonburn Shank
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Kilham

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Kirknewton


National Grid Reference: NT 86734 29606


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.

Although partly afforested, the enclosed settlement 600m north east of Elsdonburn Shank survives substantially intact and forms a reasonably well preserved example of a Roman period native settlement. It is one of a number of broadly contemporary sites which occupy the lower slopes of Haddon Hill and Coldsmouth Hill and, as such, it forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. It will contribute significantly to the study of the wider settlement pattern during this period.


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


The monument includes a native enclosed settlement dating to the Roman period. It is situated 600m north east of Elsdonburn Shank, on the northern slope of Haddon Hill. The monument consists of an oval enclosure of earth and stone banks partly scooped into the hillside, and containing slight traces of internal divisions. The remains of a small rectangular structure are attached to the exterior of the enclosure on the south west side. The enclosure is one of a number of broadly contemporary settlements which are dispersed at fairly regular intervals along the lower northern and western slopes of Coldsmouth Hill and Haddon Hill. The settlement covers a roughly oval area, 60m long by 50m wide. It is enclosed within an earth and stone bank up to 5m wide and 0.6m high, a break in the western bank may represent an entrance. The south side of the enclosure is scooped into the hillside to a depth of 1m. The enclosure contains the remains of small internal banks, up to 2m wide and 0.1m high, in the northern corner. The remains of a small, rectangular structure, 4m by 7m, lie immediately outside the enclosure on the south west side.

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: 24634

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing