Handlands Romano-British settlement, 460m south west of Woodseats Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. 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 - 1017835.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 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 Valley. 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 a dwelling. 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

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].