Romano-British farmstead and associated trackway 620m south west of Bell Nook
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1020343
Date first listed: 29-Oct-1999
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Mar-2019 at 13:34:07.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Eden (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: NY 76158 17847
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 impact damage caused by artillery during military training exercises, the Romano-British farmstead and associated trackway 620m south west of Bell Nook 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 hillslopes of east Cumbria and will facilitate further study of Romano-British settlement patterns in the area.
The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of a Romano-British
farmstead and a length of associated trackway 620m south west of Bell Nook. It
is located on a flat shelf on a gently sloping hillside, and includes an
oval-shaped enclosure measuring approximately 82m east-west by 62m north-south
which has been cut into the hillslope on the monument's northern side. The
enclosure is partially bounded by a low earth and stone bank; where this bank
merges into the hillslope defence is considered to have been afforded by a
timber palisade of which no surface evidence now remains. Three circular
depressions between 6m-10m in diameter mark the site of hut circles in which
the occupants lived. Two of these are situated against the boundary bank in
the south western corner of the enclosure while the third lies at the north
eastern corner. Adjacent to this latter hut circle is an irregularly-shaped
earthen mound considered to be the site of an associated timber structure.
Also within the enclosure are two stone mounds of uncertain date and function;
they measure approximately 16m long by 4m-7m wide and up to 1m high. There is
an entrance at the mid-point of the enclosure's northern side which is
approached by a hollow way or trackway approximately 125m long running from
the north east.
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: 27829
Legacy System: RSM
AP No. CCC 2799, 35A, 36A, Cumbria County Council, Black Hill, Warcop,
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