Three prehistoric and Romano-British settlements and associated cord rig at Green Brae


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016469

Date first listed: 19-Mar-1999


Ordnance survey map of Three prehistoric and Romano-British settlements and associated cord rig at Green Brae
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bardon Mill


National Grid Reference: NY 78877 67538


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.

Cord rig is the term used to describe a form of prehistoric cultivation in which crops were grown on narrow ridges subdivided by furrows. The average width between the centre of the furrows is 1.4m. Cord rig is frequently arranged in fields with formal boundaries but also occurs in smaller, irregular unenclosed plots varying between 30 and 60 sq m in size. It often extends over considerable areas, and is frequently found in association with a range of prehistoric settlement sites and with other types of prehistoric field system. It generally survives as a series of slight earthworks and is frequently first discovered on aerial photographs, but it has also been identified beneath several parts of Hadrian's Wall by excavation of marks created by an ard (a simple early wooden plough). The evidence of excavation and the study of associated monuments demonstrates that cord rig cultivation spans the period from the Bronze Age through to the Roman period. Cord rig cultivation is known throughout the Border areas of England and Scotland, where it is a particular feature of the upland margins. The discovery of cord rig cultivation is of importance for the analysis of prehistoric settlement and agriculture as it provides insights into early agricultural practice and the division and use of the landscape. Less than 100 examples of cord rig cultivation have been identified in Northern England. As a rare monument type all well preserved examples, particularly where they are immediately associated with prehistoric or Romano-British settlements, will normally be identified as nationally important. The settlements and cord rig field system at Green Brae are well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. They are one of a number of prehistoric or Romano-British monuments in the Hadrian's Wall corridor, which taken together will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of settlement and activity at this time.


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


The monument includes the remains of three settlements of prehistoric or Romano-British date, situated in a low coll near an area of outcropping rock. The first settlement is visible as a trapezoidal enclosure measuring 30m north to south by 27m east to west within earthen banks spread on average to 2m. It is located at NY78956750 and its northern corner is overlain by a modern field wall. Within the interior of the enclosure, aerial photographs show clearly the existence of a single round house. Some 4m east of the first settlement there is a second trapezoidal enclosure, of similar dimensions to the first. This is bissected by the field wall within the main extent of the enclosure lying to the north. This enclosure contains the prominent earthwork remains of a centrally placed round house 9m in diameter. Immediately north and west of these two settlements there are the well defined remains of a third settlement. This settlement is visible as a roughly rectangular structure measuring 55m east to west by 32m north to south. It is bounded by banks of stone and earth standing 0.5m high. Within the enclosure there are clearly defined walls of stone and earth which divide the interior into what are thought to be three stockyards. Each of the yards is associated with a circular round house measuring 6m in diameter with walls standing to a maximum of 0.3m high. Further remains of small paddocks are visible outside the three settlements and to the east. To the north of the settlements and associated enclosures, there are the remains of an associated field system. The field system is visible as a series of sinuous, low stone walls which divide the landscape into a series of irregular shaped fields. Some of the fields contain the earthwork remains of prehistoric cultivation, or cord rig. The cord rig, which is difficult to detect on the ground, is clearly visible on aerial photographs. All stone walls and fences which cross the monument and all telegraph poles placed within it are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 28591

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Crow, J, Archaeology In Northumberland, (1995), 29
Crow, J, Archaeology In Northumberland, (1995), 29
Gates, T G, (1992)
Gates, T M, (1992)

End of official listing