A Roman period native settlement, prehistoric carved rock and an iron smelting site on Knott Hill, 750m south of Stone Cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016612

Date first listed: 25-Oct-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Mar-1999


Ordnance survey map of A Roman period native settlement, prehistoric carved rock and an iron smelting site on Knott Hill, 750m south of Stone Cross
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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: Marwood

National Grid Reference: NZ 04037 19022


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.

Prehistoric rock carving is found on natural boulders and rock outcrops in many areas of upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland, Durham, and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of decoration is the `cup' marking, where small cup-like hollows are worked into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more `rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the rings may also exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Other shapes and patterns also occur but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups, or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide one of our most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols. All positively identified prehistoric rock carvings sites will normally be identified as nationally important. Primitive iron smelting sites can date from the Iron Age to the end of the medieval period (c.500 BC-1500 AD). The evidence for early iron smelting often consists of a heap of iron slag. Medieval iron smelting sites are frequently found near streams and are known as bloomeries. In bloomeries, iron ore was fired to about 1200 degrees Centigrade, using charcoal as fuel. This caused a chemical reaction, producing a mass of iron called a bloom. This was then hammered to remove any residual slag. Prehistoric iron smelting sites are rare, therefore the process involved is less well known. Some prehistoric sites have been found associated with settlements. This early iron smelting site provides important evidence of early industry and will therefore contribute to studies of the early iron industry in Northern England. Its relationship to the settlement will preserve significant dating evidence. The settlement survives well and will retain significant information on Roman native settlement and land use in the area. The carved rock provides evidence of earlier use of the area, and its position relative to other carved rocks in Teesdale may be significant.


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


The monument includes a Roman period native settlement, a prehistoric cup- marked rock and an iron-smelting site. It is situated on Knott Hill in Marwood Park, 750m south of Stone Cross. The 1:10000 map incorrectly identifies it as the site of a medieval village. The Roman period native settlement consists of a complex of mainly sub- rectangular enclosures on the south east end of the hill. The enclosures have rubble banks up to 5m wide and 0.7m high, with occasional orthostats. There is a track leading to the settlement from the north. On the south and west sides of the complex the rubble banks are more fragmentary, and have been disturbed by quarrying, and on the west side, by agricultural improvement. The prehistoric carved rock is near the north western extremity of the settlement, 20m north west of a sinuous rubble bank. The carving on the rock consists of three cups. The iron smelting site is visible as three heaps of iron slag, now grassed over, at the east edge of the settlement. The location of the smelting site and its relationship to the settlement indicate that it is Roman or medieval in date, but not later. Several stretches of modern fieldwall which cross the settlement, are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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: 31822

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Kitchen , T, Bishopric of Durham, (1775)
Leland, J, Leland's Itinerary, (1543)
Mackenzie, J, History of Durham, (1834), 224
Mackenzie, J, History of Durham, (1834), 224
Surtees, , The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham, (1823), 94
Beckensall, S and Laurie, T , Prehistoric Rock Art of County Durham Swaledale and Wensleydale, forthcoming
Marwood DMV, Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Card NZ 01 NW 3,
Title: Bishopric of Durham Source Date: 1765 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Marwood

End of official listing