Passpeth Sike deserted medieval hamlet, 1.2km east of Shillmoor


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NT 89818 07541

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the Cheviot sub-Province of the Northern and Western Province, the upland mass straddling the English-Scottish border. The sub- Province has not been sub-divided and forms a single local region. Settlement is now largely absent, but the area is characterised by the remains of linear dykes, field boundaries, cultivation terraces and buildings which bear witness to the advance and retreat of farming, both cultivation and stock production, over several thousand years. The distinctive, difficult upland environment means that many of the medieval settlement sites relate to specialist enterprises, once closely linked to settlement located in the adjacent lowlands, such as shielings, but the extensive remains of medieval arable farming raise many unanswered questions about medieval land use and settlement, touching economic, climatic and population change.

The deserted hamlet by the Passpeth Sike survives well and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is a good example of a hamlet in the Cheviot margins and its continued use into later periods will add much to our knowledge of medieval and later dispersed settlement in this region.


The monument includes the remains of a deserted hamlet, situated on a level site on either side of the Passpeth Sike, a tributary of the River Coquet. The remains include a large irregular enclosure situated on the right bank of the stream and extending northwards across the farm track which crosses the monument. The enclosure is bounded by a prominent earthen bank standing to a height of 1m. Within the enclosure are the remains of three adjoining rectangular buildings all orientated north east to south west which have been interpreted as houses. All of the houses average 6m long by 4.5m wide; the most north easterly of the group is very well preserved and its walls stand to a maximum height of 0.6m. Attached to its south western side is a small rectangular enclosure. The adjoining two houses, although of similar form are less well defined and appear to be earlier in date. Adjacent to these buildings and immediately opposite on the left bank of the Passpeth Sike there is a fourth rectangular house of similar dimensions to the others. To the north of the farm track and still within the large enclosure there are two small irregular enclosures attached to the inside of the enclosing bank; these are interpreted as stock pens or small yards. Outside the enclosure to the south east there is a well preserved stack stand, upon which winter fodder was stored. The stack stand is visible as a level platform 7m in diameter and up to 1m high surrounded by a bank; a surrounding ditch has become infilled. This settlement is thought to be part of the medieval settlement of Whiteside, known from a 16th century map of the area by Christopher Saxton. The existence of the stack stand and the well preserved remains of the most north easterly house suggest, however, that parts of this hamlet remained in use in subsequent centuries. The metalled surface of the track which crosses the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Charlton, B, An Archaeological Survey of the Otterburn Training Area, (1996), 112
Charlton, D B, Day, J C, An Archaeological Survey of the MOD Training Area, Otterburn, (1977)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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