Burntshieldhaugh Fell prehistoric settlement and field system, 570m east of Ivy Pool


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


Ordnance survey map of Burntshieldhaugh Fell prehistoric settlement and field system, 570m east of Ivy Pool
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NY 92939 52004

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.

A regular aggregate field system is a group of regularly defined fields of prehistoric or Roman date, laid out in a block or blocks, which lie approximately at right angles to each other, usually with a settlement as a focal point. Fields are generally square or rectangular and the blocks give an ordered, if irregular shape to the field system as a whole. They are characteristically extensive monument types; the number of individual fields varies from two to approximately 50, but this is, at least in part, a reflection of bias in the archaeological record rather than the true extent of such land divisions during their period of use. This is because continued land use has often obliterated traces of the full extent of such field systems. The fields were the primary unit of production in a mixed farming economy, incorporating pastoral, arable, and horticultural elements. As rare monument types which provide an insight into land division and agricultural practice during their period of use all well preserved examples will normally be identified as nationally important. Despite the fact that parts of the monument were ploughed during the post-medieval period, the prehistoric settlement and field system 570m east of Ivy Pool survive well and retain significant archaeological deposits. Taken together they will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of prehistoric settlement and agriculture in the North Pennines.


The monument includes the remains of a settlement and associated field system of prehistoric or Romano-British date, situated on the western edge of Burntshieldhaugh Fell, overlooking the valley of Devil's Water to the south. The settlement is visible as a roughly rectangular enclosure 60m east to west by 40m north to south within a bank of stone and earth 3m wide which stands to a maximum height of 0.5m above the interior of the settlement. The settlement abuts a modern field bank on its north side but the original north wall of the settlement is thought to survive beneath this later bank. Within the enclosure, situated against its western side, there are the remains of three circular, stone founded round houses; the largest and best preserved is 8m in diameter and stands to a maximum height of 0.3m. The remaining two hut circles are 7m in diameter and stand to 0.2m high. Two of the houses have clear entrances. At the north east corner of the settlement there are the slight traces of a second rectangular enclosure visible on the ground as a slight swelling but well defined on aerial photographs. This feature is thought to be associated with the settlement and is interpreted as an annexe. To the south and south east of the settlement there are the remains of an associated field system; the field system is visible as a series of sinuous banks of earth and stone varying in width from 1m to 4m wide and standing to a maximum height of 1.2m. One of the banks has a small cairn of stone 3m wide and 0.4m high incorporated within it. The walls divide the landscape into a series of enclosed areas or fields. The fence line which crosses the northern edge of the monument and the two small fenced enclsoures are excluded from the monument, although the ground beneath these features are 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:
Legacy System:


NY95SW 11-15, 29,
NY95SW 12,


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

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