Carved rock and Romano-British settlement known as Greystone, 250m south of Moorcock Farm, Barningham Moor


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2020. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1017421.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 12-Aug-2020 at 22:00:13.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County Durham (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NZ 06792 09519

Reasons for Designation

Prehistoric rock art is found on natural 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 and ring' marking where expanses of small cup-like hollows are pecked 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'. Pecked lines or grooves can also exist in isolation from cup and ring decoration. 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. Frequently they are found close to contemporary burial monuments and the symbols are also found on portable stones placed directly next to burials or incorporated in burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock-art have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed in activities such as quarrying. All positively identified prehistoric rock art sites exhibiting a significant group of designs will normally be identified as nationally important.

In Cumbria and Northumberland, and more rarely in Durham, 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 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 enclosure 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. The carving on the rock south of Moorcock Farm survives well and will contribute to our knowledge of rock art in northern England. The settlement is also in good condition and will contribute to studies of the continuity of prehistoric and Roman period land use in the uplands. The later use of rock art within a Roman period settlement is also an important relationship which should be preserved.


The monument includes a carved sandstone rock, and a Romano British native settlement. It is situated on Barningham Moor, on a slight terrace, 40m east of a small stream, south of Moorcock Farm. The carved rock is in a group of three prominent rocks forming part of the enclosure walling within the settlement. The rock measures 1.06m by 0.82m by 0.74m. The carving consists of five cups at the ESE corner of the rock, and two approximately in the centre. The settlement consists of a sub-divided enclosure and the remains of at least one stone round house. An additional stretch of walling links the settlement to the river bank. The river may have eroded part of this bank. The northern part of the enclosure is sub-rectangular, approximately 44m from north to south, and 38m from east to west. It is sub-divivded by a sinuous slight bank, and contains the possible remains of a stone round house near its north edge. The south side of this part of the enclosure is composed of a number of large stones, a stretch of stony bank, and some hollows where stones have been removed. The central part of the enclosure is approximately 18m from north to south and 23m from west to east. The west edge is defined by a slight, heather clad bank, the east edge by a break of slope, and the south edge by a line of large stones, which includes the carved rock. The south part of the enclosure is the least well defined, but it is visible as a flattened area with a slight crest and part lynchet on its west edge. This continues southwards through the heather as a slight bank, visibly stony wherever exposed. This bank is cut by the present course of the small stream at the southern limit of the bank, and can be seen at this point to be composed of sandstone rubble. This western limit of the south part of the enclosure is 30m long. The east edge of this part of the enclosure is incomplete, and consists of a stretch of stony bank 10m long, linking the settlement to the river. These enclosures are likely to have functioned as stock enclosures or yards.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Rock Carvings of Northern Britain, (1986), 28
Laurie, T, 'Archaeological Newsbulletin Series 2' in Archaeological Newsbulletin CBA Regional Group Three, (1977), 11
Laurie, T, 'Archaeological Newsbulletin Series 2' in Archaeological Newsbulletin CBA Regional Group Three, (1977), 11


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].