Enclosed settlement 310m south west of White Gate


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


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NT 97706 12299

Reasons for Designation

In a densely settled and highly developed country such as England, the landscapes of all but the most bleak mountain summits are, to varying degrees, the product of centuries and millennia of human development. Except in areas today considered to be marginal, most traces of the earliest stages in this process have been erased or modified by later development and only survive in a fragmentary manner. The prehistoric settlement remains that survive beyond the margins of more recent cultivation in upland areas such as the Cheviots provide a rare opportunity to recognise the prehistoric shape of the landscape. The Breamish Valley is one of the main valleys draining the Cheviot Massif. Because of comprehensive field survey during the 1980s, it is also one of the best recorded upland areas in England. The field evidence for human activity within the valley is diverse and spans at least five millennia from the Neolithic to the post-medieval period. Of particular importance are the well- preserved and extensive upland prehistoric remains, including settlements, field systems and cairnfields. On the enclosed land within the valley, archaeological remains are more fragmentary, but they survive sufficiently well to show that human activity extended below what is now open fell land. Due to excellent state of survival, their archaeological integrity, and their rarity in a national context, most recorded prehistoric and later monuments within the Breamish Valley will be identified as nationally important.

In Cumbria and Northumberland several distinctive types of native settlements dating to the later prehistoric and 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. In north Northumberland unenclosed settlement forms have also been identified which lack any form of enclosure wall around the stone round houses. Usually located on gently sloping ground, these unenclosed forecourt settlements comprise one or more round stone houses with entrances, which open into a large stone-walled forecourt or courtyard. 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 before and during the period of the Roman occupation and clearly 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. The enclosed settlement 310m south west of White Gate is well-preserved and contains highly visible evidence of habitation. The form and method of construction of the houses will add to our knowledge of this type of settlement and of the social organisation of its inhabitants. The survival of intact floor levels and associated features such as hearths and pottery vessels will inform our understanding of the nature of its occupation. The site will retain deposits suitable for radiocarbon dating which will help to establish a chronology for such sites in the area. Taken together with other prehistoric/Romano-British settlements in the vicinity, it will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of settlement at this time.


The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of an enclosed settlement of later prehistoric or Romano-British date, situated in a low lying position on gentle south east facing slopes on the right bank of the Coppath Burn. Such a low lying situation is unusual for a settlement of this type. The remains of further settlements and cairns in the vicinity are the subjects of separate schedulings. The settlement, oriented north east to south west is visible as a roughly oval enclosure measuring a maximum of 52m by 32m. It is enclosed by a wall of stone and earth up to 4m wide and 0.5m high. There are two entrances about 2.5m wide through the south eastern side of the enclosure and an entrance, 2.3m wide through its north wall. Within the settlement, a low stone and earth wall divides the interior into two compartments interpreted as courtyards. There are five hut circles within the settlement. The northern compartment contains a single round house, the southern compartment contains three round houses and a fifth round house is situated in a gap at the west end of the internal dividing wall. The hut circles are all of similar form and range from 4.8m to 6.3m in diameter within walls between 4m and 8m wide. Their walls stand to a maximum height of 0.3m. All of the hut circles have entrances through their south eastern sides which vary between 1.8m to 2m wide. A further two hut circles are attached to the outside face of the enclosure wall of the south courtyard and a small intra-mural cell, 6m in diameter is contained within the north wall to the west of the entrance.

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:


NT91SE 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

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