Whitber Romano-British farmstead 660m south west of Highmore Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018065

Date first listed: 16-May-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Apr-1998


Ordnance survey map of Whitber Romano-British farmstead 660m south west of Highmore Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. 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.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Waitby

National Grid Reference: NY 75204 07234


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

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.

Despite some minor damage caused by past quarrying of the exposed limestone shelf over which the monument was constructed, Whitber Romano-British farmstead 660m south west of Highmore Hill survives reasonably well and is a good example of this class of monument. It is one of a number of similar monuments located on the limestone hills of east Cumbria and will facilitate any further study of Romano-British settlement patterns in the area.


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


The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Whitber Romano-British farmstead which is located over an exposed shelf of limestone on gently sloping ground 660m south west of Highmore Hill. It includes a cluster of five irregularly-shaped enclosures, two of which contain traces of hut circles where the occupants lived, while the remaining enclosures would have functioned as stock pens. A narrow entrance on the monument's eastern side leads into an oval-shaped enclosure within which are traces of a small hut circle approximately 2.5m in diameter. There is another slightly larger hut circle situated in the south western corner of the irregularly-shaped enclosure to the west. The remaining enclosures in this group appear featureless apart from the one at the monument's south western side which has an inturned entrance on its southern side.

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: 27812

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Roberts, B K, 'Archaeological Journal' in Some Relict Landscapes in Westmorland: A Reconsideration, (1993), 443-4
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)

End of official listing