Medieval and later dispersed settlement, 730m north and 860m north of Linbriggs


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 89059 07061, NT 89119 07179

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 last 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the Wear-Tweed sub-Province of the Central Province, an area long characterised, except for the western margins, by nucleated settlements both surviving and deserted. Variations within the sub-Province reflect land ownership as well as terrain: on some estates in Northumberland there was much dispersal of farmsteads and consequent village and hamlet depopulation after the Middle Ages, whereas Durham saw greater stability because of ecclesiastical control. An overlay of mining settlements adds complexity to the coalfield areas. The Cheviot Margin local region is a narrow transition zone between two contrasting areas, the high moorlands of the Cheviots and the agriculturally favourable lowlands of the Tweed Valley and the Northumbrian Vales. Fieldwork has shown that this region retains archaeological traces likely to date from many periods, providing evidence for sequences of land occupation. Medieval settlements are mainly in the form of small hamlets and isolated farmsteads.

In some areas of medieval England settlement was dispersed across the landscape rather than nucleated into villages. Such dispersed settlement in an area, usually a township or parish, is defined by the lack of a single (or principal) nucleated settlement focus such as a village and the presence instead of small settlement units (small hamlets or farmsteads) spread across the area. These small settlements normally have a degree of interconnection with their close neighbours, for example, in relation to shared common land or road systems. Dispersed settlements varied enormously from region to region, but where they survive as earthworks their distinguishing features include roads and other minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. In areas where stone was used for building, the outline of building foundations may still be clearly visible. Communal areas of the settlements frequently include features such as bakehouses, pinfolds and ponds. Areas of dispersed medieval settlement are found in both the South Eastern and Northern and Western Provinces of England. They are found in upland and also some lowland areas. Where found, their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. The remains of the settlement north of Linbriggs survive well and retain significant archaeological deposits. It is a good example of upland dispersed settlement and will add greatly to our understanding of medieval and later settlement patterns in the Cheviot Margins.


The monument includes the remains of a dispersed settlement contained within two separate areas of protection. The settlement extends from higher gently sloping ground to the level floodplain on the right bank of the River Coquet. The most southerly part of the settlement, which is situated furthest from the river on the highest ground, is contained within the first area. This part of the settlement includes the remains of a rectangular long house measuring 15m by 5m, sub-divided by a low stone wall into two rooms and the adjacent square foundations of a second building measuring 10m across. Immediately to the west there are the remains of a circular stack stand, upon which winter fodder was stored. The stack stand is visible as the slight remains of a raised circular platform 9m in diameter within a surrounding ditch 2m wide. Some 30m north of the farmstead, situated at the foot of the steep slopes above the small stream, there are the well preserved remains of a small corn drying kiln; the kiln, which is a simple stone lined bowl dug into the hillside measures 4m in diameter and although partly infilled is 2m deep. This part of the settlement is bounded on the north by a steeply incised stream and on the east by a stone and earth lynchet. The slight remains of a scarped bank are visible bounding the settlement on the western side but a continuation of this feature, thought to exist around the southern side of the settlement is no longer visible. The remainder of the dispersed settlement is contained within the second area of protection. This includes the well preserved remains of five long houses and associated enclosures, situated on sloping ground above and immediately adjacent to the River Coquet. The most prominent feature of this part of the settlement is an enclosure measuring 90m by 70m bounded by a low stone wall standing to a maximum height of 0.5m. Within the enclosure, attached to its eastern wall, there is a rectangular long house measuring 5.5m by 13m with opposing entrances through its centre; a second rectangular building measuring 6m by 23m lies immediately outside the enclosure to the south. The sloping interior of the enclosure contains three lynchets and at its north eastern corner there is a stoney circular mound 4m in diameter and up to 1.5m high which is thought to be a second corn drying kiln. Immediately outside the north west corner of the enclosure, but attached to it, there is a third rectangular building measuring 6m by 15m and the truncated remains of a fourth building attached to a small rectangular paddock or yard. A small stream crosses through the settlement at its western side but immediately beyond the stream the well preserved remains of a fifth long house measuring 9m by 4m are visible.

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.

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Books and journals
Charlton, B, Fifty centuries of Peace and War, (1996), 70
Charlton, D B, Day, J C, Linbrig, (1976)
NT80NE 17,


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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