Smardale Demesne Romano-British farmstead, 700m south west of Holme Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2019 at 02:51:02.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Eden (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- NY 73475 07472
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 disturbance caused by construction of a later field dyke across the south western part of the monument, Smardale Demesne Romano-British farmstead 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 hillsides of east Cumbria and will facilitate any further study of Romano-British settlement patterns in the area.
The monument includes Smardale Demesne Romano-British farmstead located on a
gently sloping west-facing hillside, 700m south west of Holme Farm. It
includes a partly oval enclosure bounded by an earth and stone wall up to 0.5m
high by 3m wide. The enclosure is subdivided; the southern part contains the
earthwork remains of a hut circle where the occupants lived, while the
northern part would have functioned as a stock pen. There is an entrance on
the monument's north east side which gives access into the southern part of
the farmstead. A little to the south west of centre lies the hut circle; it
has an entrance on its north eastern side and measures approximately 9m in
diameter with walls up to 0.2m high. At the north west corner of the southern
part of the farmstead there is a domed mound measuring 10.5m by 6.5m and up to
0.8m high upon which an ancillary structure would have stood. The mound is
surrounded on two sides by a ditch. The oval-shaped stock pen at the northern
end of the farmstead has a sunken interior and measures a maximum of 27m by
18m internally. A later field dyke crosses the south west corner of the
farmstead close to the hut circle.
The field dyke is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it
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
Roberts, B K, 'Archaeological Journal' in Some Relict Landscapes in Westmorland: A Reconsideration, , Vol. 150, (1993), 433-55
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)
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