Handlands Romano-British settlement, 460m south west of Woodseats Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 27-Feb-2021 at 09:52:11.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Sheffield (Metropolitan Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SK 33223 94996
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.
Handlands Romano-British settlement is a good example of its type. Few such sites exist on the gritstone fringes of the southern Pennines. This particular example is important because of the extensive survival of features relating to cultivation and settlement of the period. The site will retain information on its construction and use.
The monument includes a field system and settlement of the Romano-British
period. Visible remains include revetted terraces and enclosure walls, some
containing clearance cairns. The monument stands on the gritstone fringes of
the southern Pennines on well-drained land to the east of the upper Don
The field system consists largely of a series of terraces revetted on their
downslope edges by cleared stone and turf. They are oriented north-south,
following the contours. The terraces are bounded at right-angles by enclosure
walls comprising cleared stone and turf, forming rectangular field plots.
Within the complex is at least one oval platform, interpreted as the site of a
building. In addition, there is a small rectangular enclosure to the south
east of the field system containing internal divisions of stone and turf. This
area is interpreted as a domestic enclosure, likely to contain the remains of
There are several cairns contained within the main settlement complex together
with further isolated cairns to the north and east: most are associated with
the field walls. The settlement and field system measure approximately 250m by
320m. Outside the area of protection are isolated and fragmentary examples of
lynchets and field walls. A minor 20th century excavation confirmed that the
complex is dated to the Romano-British period.
Excluded from the scheduling are all modern stone walls, gates and fences,
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 3 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
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983), 18-20
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