Bainesse Roman roadside settlement and Anglian cemetery


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Bainesse Roman roadside settlement and Anglian cemetery
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Richmondshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 24096 96994

Reasons for Designation

Roman roads were artificially made-up routes introduced to Britain by the Roman army from c.AD 43. They facilitated both the conquest of the province and its subsequent administration. Their main purpose was to serve the Cursus Publicus, or Imperial mail service. Express messengers could travel up to 150 miles (241km) per day on the network of Roman roads throughout Britain and Europe, changing horses at wayside `mutationes' (posting stations set every 8 miles (12.87km) on major roads) and stopping overnight at `mansiones' (rest houses located every 20-25 miles (32km-40km). In addition, throughout the Roman period and later, Roman roads acted as commercial routes and became foci for settlement and industry. Mausolea were sometimes built flanking roads during the Roman period while, in the Anglian and medieval periods, Roman roads often served as property boundaries. Although a number of roads fell out of use soon after the withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many have continued in use down to the present day and are consequently sealed beneath modern roads. On the basis of construction technique, two main types of Roman road are distinguishable. The first has widely spaced boundary ditches and a broad elaborate agger comprising several layers of graded materials. The second usually has drainage ditches and a narrow simple agger of two or three successive layers. In addition to ditches and construction pits flanking the sides of the road, features of Roman roads can include central stone ribs, kerbs and culverts, not all of which will necessarily be contemporary with the original construction of the road. With the exception of the extreme south-west of the country, Roman roads are widely distributed throughout England and extend into Wales and lowland Scotland. They are highly representative of the period of Roman administration and provide important evidence of Roman civil engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman conquest and settlement. A high proportion of examples exhibiting good survival are considered to be worthy of protection.

Linear settlements are one of the characteristic rural settlement forms of the Roman period. They developed as strings of farmsteads within rectilinear plots arranged along tracks, drove ways and Roman roads, frequently sited close to spring lines. Both the buildings and associated field systems also tended to be rectilinear in form, although the earlier tradition of round houses sometimes persisted. Although primary based on mixed farming, there is often evidence for small scale craft working, especially in later periods. Also, finds of coins show that the inhabitants were typically, at least to some extent, integrated with the Roman monetary economy. Excavated examples suggest that most linear settlements were established within 40 years either side of AD 100 and were continuously occupied up to the fifth century. However some appear to have been deliberately cleared in the fourth century to be replaced by Roman villa complexes. Initially buildings were normally timber, probably with thatched roofs, with stone and tile becoming commonly used in the later Roman period. Although some houses exhibit sophisticated building techniques or non-local building materials, their occupants appear to have had a comfortable rather than opulent lifestyle. Linear settlements often have a shrine, small religious building or other evidence of ritual activity. Human burials, typically inhumations, were frequently scattered throughout the settlement, normally close to the plot boundaries farthest away from the road frontage. This contrasts with the typical urban practice of concentrating burials within cemeteries. Romano-British linear settlements are usually identified from cropmarks on aerial photographs. All examples that retain upstanding earthworks will be considered to be of national importance. A number of levelled sites that still retain undisturbed archaeological deposits will also be of national importance and worthy of protection.

Beginning in the fifth century AD, there is evidence for the immigration of settlers into Britain from northern Europe, bringing new religious beliefs. This evidence includes distinctive burial practices and new forms of pottery, metalwork and other items. Roman towns appear to have gone into rapid decline and the old rural settlement pattern to have been disrupted. Although some Romano British settlements and cemeteries continued in use, the native Britons rapidly adopted many of the cultural practices of the new settlers and it soon becomes difficult to distinguish them in the archaeological record. So-called Anglian cemeteries are dated to the early Anglo-Saxon period, from the fifth to the seventh centuries AD. With the conversion to Christianity during the late sixth and seventh centuries AD, these pagan cemeteries appear to have been abandoned in favour of new sites, some of which have continued in use up to the present day. Burial practices included both inhumation and cremation. Anglian inhumation cemeteries consist predominantly of inhumation burials which were placed in rectangular pits in the ground, occasionally within coffins. The bodies were normally accompanied by a range of grave goods, including jewellery and weaponry. The cemeteries vary in size, the largest containing several hundred burials. Around 1000 inhumation cemeteries have been recorded in England. They represent one of our principal sources of archaeological evidence about the Early Anglo-Saxon period, providing information on population, social structure and ideology. All surviving examples, other than those which have been heavily disturbed, are considered worthy of protection.

Although Bainesse Roman settlement is important in its own right, retaining well-preserved extensive remains, it is of particular note for its close relationship to the Roman town and fort of Cataractonium. The Anglian period burials add significant additional interest to the monument.


The monument includes the buried remains of a Roman roadside settlement and associated features around Bainesse. It also includes a section of Dere Street Roman road, which survives as an upstanding earthwork to the south of the modern buildings of Bainesse, and an area of Anglian burials to the north. The settlement lies just over 2km south east of the Roman town of Cataractonium, which is the subject of a separate scheduling.

In circa 1800, during the construction of Bainesse farmhouse, a square arched vault was uncovered built with Roman bricks. Further Roman finds were uncovered in the area later in the 19th and 20th centuries including a flight of steps that were uncovered and back filled in the 1940s under one of Bainese's barns. In 1959, during the construction of the A1 Catterick bypass, a number of early Anglian burials overlying walls and spreads of Roman pottery were noted to the south of Tunstall Road Bridge. Since the 1970s further archaeological investigations, including geophysical survey and excavation, have identified further Roman remains including buildings, burials and a pottery kiln. Most of this work is detailed in the two volume `Cataractonium: Roman Catterick and its hinterland', by P R Wilson, published in 2002. However, new discoveries continue as demonstrated by the subsequent find of a Roman burial to the north west of Bainesse Lodge.

To date there is no definite evidence of any pre-Roman occupation within the monument, although geophysical survey data indicates a possible area of native British style occupation just west of the monument, about 300m west of Bainesse, beyond Catterick Lane. The earliest dated evidence for settlement within the monument is a set of rectangular, Roman style timber buildings that predate the Emperor Hadrian (AD 117) and may be as early as AD 80. This makes the settlement roughly contemporary with the establishment of the first fort and associated settlement at Cataractonium. By AD 150 the settlement around Bainesse was well established with a number of stone buildings as well as timber. Towards the end of the second century at least one building had underfloor heating provided by a hypercaust. Although never overtly high status, finds, particularly of glass and pottery, suggest that the settlement's prosperity peaked in the third century. At the same time however, at least part of the northern area of the settlement appears to have been abandoned. There is some evidence for continued occupation into the early fourth century, but by this time the settlement is thought to have been in overall decline. This decline may have been the result of the establishment of a villa partly revealed by excavation in 1939 and 1966 about 500m to the east of the monument within the area of Marne Barracks.

Excavated evidence suggests that the settlement supported itself on a mixture of agriculture and small scale craft activity, including blacksmithing, copper alloy working and pottery production. For instance Bainesse includes the only positively identified pottery kiln within the Catterick area. The settlement is also thought to have served the needs of travellers along Dere Street and may have been a transhipment point between the Roman road and the River Swale to the east. Although Bainesse is thought to have been a civilian settlement, finds of military equipment suggest that the Roman army had some sort of presence or involvement with the settlement. Buildings generally fronted onto Dere Street, sometimes with a second range of buildings behind. Although it may never have been all occupied at the same time, the settlement extended for at least 1.25km along the road. Around the built-up area of the settlement were small paddocks and enclosures, sometimes including scattered human burials and areas of industrial activity with a more extensive field system beyond. One of the Roman burials, that of a young man wearing jewellery, may be that of a `gallus', a self-castrated follower of the goddess Cybele.

Early post-Roman settlement in the general area of the monument was probably quite dispersed, no direct evidence of occupation has been identified within the monument. However in addition to the burials disturbed by road building in 1959, eight sixth century Anglian burials were excavated in 1981-82 around 200m north of Bainesse. Further unexcavated Anglian burials forming a wider cemetery are expected to survive in adjacent areas and are included within the monument.

Excavation has shown that Roman material around Bainesse is frequently deeply stratified. Deposits to the north of Bainesse for instance were typically around 0.7m thick, extending up to 2m below the modern ground surface. To the south of Bainesse, an early surface of Dere Street was exposed 1.3m below the modern ground surface. Surviving Roman remains are expected beneath modern roads and buildings and are thus included within the monument.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling: these are all modern buildings, structures, fences, walls, stiles, gates, water troughs, telegraph and other poles, sign posts and all road and path surfaces. The ground beneath all these features is, however, included. The embankment carrying the minor road over the A1 is also excluded from the scheduling with the exception of its lowest metre which is included to protect the underlying archaeology. Fence and wall lines defining the boundaries of the monument lie immediately outside the protected area.

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.

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Books and journals
Wilson, P R , 'Medieval Archaeology' in Early Anglian Catterick and Catraeth, , Vol. 60, (1996)
Wilson, P R, 'Excavations & Research 1958-97' in Cataractonium: Roman Catterick And Its Hinterland, , Vol. 128, (2002)
Wilson, PR , A1 Motorway Leeming to Scotch Corner, 1994, 2 Vol typescript


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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