Medieval farmstead at High Knott, 380m west of West Force Garth


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017125

Date first listed: 14-Dec-1999


Ordnance survey map of Medieval farmstead at High Knott, 380m west of West Force Garth
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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: Forest and Frith

National Grid Reference: NY 87155 28882


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

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 evolved gradually during the past 1500 years or more. The Alston Block local region encompasses the high moorlands north of Stainmore. Away from the `specialist nucleations', (the clusters of dwellings and workshops associated with mining and the railways), the dispersed settlement forms include both seasonal and permanent farmsteads, as well as specialist sheep and cattle ranches. The latter were normally outlying dependencies of larger settlements or estate centres located in adjacent regions. In these upland environments, dating settlements can be difficult.

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 principle) nucleated settlement focus such as a village, and the presence instead of small settlement units (small hamlets and 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 mediaeval settlement are found in both the South Eastern Province and the Northern and Western Province 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 medieval farmstead at High Knott, 380m west of West Force Garth survives well and forms part of a pattern of dispersed medieval settlement in Upper Teesdale.


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


The monument includes a medieval farmstead on the north east facing slope of High Knott, at Force Garth, Upper Teesdale. It occupies a slight terrace about 350m west of West Force Garth. The farmstead comprises the remains of a rectangular building forming one side of a small yard, a smaller sub-rectangular building attached to a corner of the yard, a circular structure, and a small clearance cairn. The larger rectangular building appears to be a longhouse and has two rooms with a possible cross passage. It is 13m long and 6m wide. Its walls are visible as stony banks about 2.7m wide and 0.7m high. The yard, of which the building forms one side, is 13m by 11m. Its walls are visible as a slight stony bank. The smaller sub-rectangular building lies at the south corner of the yard and is about 5m square. The circular structure, possibly also a small building, lies south east of the yard. It is 5m in diameter with rubble walls 1.5m wide and 0.3m high. The clearance cairn is east of this and is 4.5m in diameter and about 1m high. During fieldwork, a small fragment of medieval pottery was found in a molehill on the slope below the farmstead.

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: 33491

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Coggins, D, 'Upper Teesdale the archaeology of a North Pennine Valley' in Upper Teesdale The Archaeology Of A North Pennine Valley, , Vol. 150, (1986), 125

End of official listing