Romano-British settlement 740m WNW of Old Spital


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016465

Date first listed: 19-Mar-1999


Ordnance survey map of Romano-British settlement 740m WNW of Old Spital
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: County Durham (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bowes

National Grid Reference: NY 90356 12370


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.

In spite of the fact that part of its northern side has been quarried, the Romano-British settlement near Rey Cross Roman camp is reasonably well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. The importance of this monument is enhanced by the survival of further prehistoric and Roman remains in the area. Taken together, this group of monuments will contribute greatly to our knowledge and understanding of settlement and landuse on Stainmore over five millennia.


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


The monument includes the remains of a settlement of Romano-British date, situated on a near level site on gently sloping south east facing moorland in the Stainmore Pass. The settlement is visible as a sub-rectangular enclosure measuring 28m north to south by 15m east to west within stone walls on average 1m thick and on average 0.65m high. There is an entrance, 2m wide, in the eastern corner of the south wall; this is flanked by two orthostats which rise above the present height of the enclosure walls. Within the interior of the enclosure there are very slight traces of a causeway leading from the entrance towards the rear wall, and a hollow in the south east corner of the enclosure is thought to be the site of a stone founded circular house. The northern part of the enclosure has suffered from surface quarrying and the west wall is overlain by quarry spoil.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 28598

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Vyner, et al, The Archaeology of the Stainmore Pass, (1998)
NY91SW 07,

End of official listing