Romano-British farmstead and field system 320m north east of Rede Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016200

Date first listed: 23-Jan-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Apr-1997


Ordnance survey map of Romano-British farmstead and field system 320m north east of Rede Bridge
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bellingham

National Grid Reference: NY 86680 83463


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.

A regular field system is a group of regularly defined fields of prehistoric or Roman date, laid out in a block or blocks which lie approximately at right angles to each other, usually with a settlement as a focal point. Fields are generally square or rectangular and the blocks give an ordered, if irregular, shape to the field system as a whole. They are characteristically extensive monuments; the number of individual fields varying from two to 50, but this is, at least in part, a reflection of bias in the archaeological record rather than the true extent of such land divisions during their period of use, as continued land use has often obliterated traces of the full extent of such field systems. The fields were the primary unit of production in a mixed farming economy, incorporating pastoral, arable and horticultural elements. As a rare monument type which provide an insight into land division and agricultural practice during their period of use, all well preserved examples will normally be identified to be nationally important.

The farmstead and the adjacent field system near Rede Bridge are well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. They will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of Prehistoric/Romano-British settlement and activity in this area.


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


The monument includes the remains of a settlement of Romano-British date and an adjacent field system, situated on a south east facing slope in a commanding position above the River Rede. The farmstead, sub-rectangular in shape, measures 53m east-west by 46m north-south within a broad ditch 5m wide and 1m deep below the top of an internal bank 2m wide. Externally, the ditch is surrounded by a counter-scarp bank of stone and earth 2m wide and 0.5m high above the exterior ground level. There is an entrance 5m wide in the south side of the enclosure carried across the ditch on a causeway. A small area of the interior of the enclosure was uncovered by a part excavation in 1957; this revealed the existence of at least one stone founded circular house set against the north wall of the settlement.

From the eastern side of the settlement, extending down to the River Rede there are the remains of an associated regular field system. The field system consists of a series of linear stone field walls which divide the landscape into small rectangular plots. Many of the walls survive as low stony banks standing to a maximum height of 0.4m and measuring 2m across. Other walls have been robbed of much of their stone and consist of slight hollows 2m wide.

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: 25076

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectlinear Settlements of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1960), 49
NY 88 SE 15,
NY/8683/A-K, Gates, T, Rede Bridge R-B settlement, fields, cord-rig, (1988)

End of official listing