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Prehistoric regular aggregate field system with incorporated enclosure and stone hut circles 550m NNW of Lamelgate Farm

A Scheduled Monument in St. Cleer, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5147 / 50°30'52"N

Longitude: -4.5144 / 4°30'51"W

OS Eastings: 221831.069198

OS Northings: 71342.894939

OS Grid: SX218713

Mapcode National: GBR NC.JXY9

Mapcode Global: FRA 17FP.WL3

Entry Name: Prehistoric regular aggregate field system with incorporated enclosure and stone hut circles 550m NNW of Lamelgate Farm

Scheduled Date: 18 February 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007474

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15258

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Cleer

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Neot

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes a prehistoric regular aggregate field system
incorporating an ovoid enclosure and at least eight stone hut circles situated
on the north-east slope of a broad spur occupied by Lamelgate Farm. The spur
extends east from Draynes Common into the River Fowey valley on southern
Bodmin Moor. The monument also includes part of a medieval field system that
impinged on the area of the prehistoric field systems.
The prehistoric regular aggregate field system survives over 4.5 ha and
contains walls of heaped rubble and boulders, up to 0.9m high and 2m wide,
incorporating occasional edge-set facing slabs and boulders. Where the walls
run along the contour, a substantial build up of deposits, called a lynchet,
has accumulated against the uphill side and top of the walling due to the
combined effects of prehistoric cultivation and gravity.
The layout of the regular aggregate field system shows it to result from
successive prehistoric enclosure along and up the hillslope. At the lowest
level on the slope is a single row of at least nine contiguous field plots,
extending approximately NW-SE along the contour. The plots range from 0.05ha
to 0.4ha in surviving extent with walls running directly downslope from an
uphill boundary and truncated along their lower edges by a modern wall
defining the upper limit of recent pasture improvement. Within the row, the
plots are grouped into three distinct blocks reflecting successive phases and
methods of piecemeal prehistoric enclosure of the hillslope.
Two large plots, of 0.8ha and 0.6ha respectively, extend the area of the
prehistoric field system to a level averaging 50m up the slope from the uphill
boundaries of the lower row of plots. The larger, north-western, plot is
formed by a sinuous wall running 30m upslope from the north-western of the
lower plots. This wall then turns south-east, roughly along the contour,
towards a straight wall linking the central block of lower plots with the
lower wall of an ovoid prehistoric enclosure. The straight wall, 68m long,
forms the north-west wall of the smaller of these two plots, whose uphill wall
is defined by the lower wall of the enclosure.
The curving outline of the enclosure and its relationships with the other
walls of the field system may indicate that the enclosure was already in
existence before the regular field system expanded up the slope to meet and
incorporate it. The enclosure is located near the crest of the hillslope and
is defined by a heaped rubble wall, up to 2.4m wide and mostly up to 0.75m
high, but rising to 1.2m high along its downslope, massively lynchetted,
north-east side. The wall incorporates numerous edge-set inner and outer
facing slabs and defines an ovoid internal area of 0.36ha, measuring
65m NW-SE by 60m NE-SW.
The enclosure contains six of the monument's eight stone hut circles. The
other two hut circles are also situated near the enclosure, 20m to its south-
east and 20m to its NNW. The hut circles survive with walls of heaped rubble
and large boulders, up to 1.4m wide and 1m high, defining circular or oval
internal areas ranging from 4m in diameter to 8.6m by 8m. Some are levelled
into the hillslope. The walls frequently incorporate edge-set inner and outer
facing slabs, including some unusually massive examples. Entrance gaps, 1m
wide, are visible in two hut circles within the enclosure, facing south-west
and south-east. A curving prehistoric wall links the hut circle NNW of the
enclosure to the upper side of the large north-western plot of the regular
field system. A similar wall runs upslope from that hut circle, running west
then curving south-west before being truncated by medieval enclosure banks.
These walls may reflect a further expansion of the prehistoric field system,
taking in the land north-west of the enclosure at the top of the hillslope.
The monument includes several boundaries of a medieval field system which
partly re-uses some walls of the prehistoric field system and which extends
beyond the monument to encompass the rest of the spur. The medieval field
boundaries survive as earth-and-rubble banks, up to 2m wide and 0.8m high,
accompanied along one side by a ditch, up to 1m wide and 0.2m deep. One such
boundary runs NE-SW, defining the surviving north-western extent of the
prehistoric field system along the hillslope; at the crest of the slope this
boundary meets another which runs south-east to incorporate the upper,
south-west, wall of the prehistoric enclosure into its line. Downslope of the
enclosure, most of the straight prehistoric wall linking it with the lower row
of prehistoric plots was refurbished as a medieval wall. This was joined by
two medieval ditched banks extending south-east along the contour. The upper
of these runs 5m-8m beyond the line of the enclosure's north-east wall; the
lower runs 45m-50m to its north-east, part of its course re-using the uphill
boundary of the lower row of prehistoric plots.
Beyond the monument, a group of broadly contemporary prehistoric funerary
cairns is located around the summit of the broad hill occupied by Draynes
Common, while directly opposite this monument in the River Fowey valley,
similar small groups of cairns are situated on each of the sequence of rounded
hilltops bordering the valley.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been
recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The
Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the
best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of
prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human
exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The
well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field
systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains
provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land
use through time.

Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are a major feature of the
Moor landscape. Regular aggregate field systems are one such method of field
layout known to have been employed in south-west England during the Bronze Age
(c.2000 - 700 BC). Regular aggregate field systems comprise a collection of
field plots defined by boundaries laid out in a consistent manner, along two
axes set at right angles to each other. A single regular aggregate field
system may contain several contiguous blocks of such plots and each block may
differ slightly in the orientation of the axes used in its layout. Regular
aggregate field systems often incorporate or are situated near stone hut
circles, the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on the Moor, and
enclosures, mostly also dating from the Bronze Age.
Hut circles, stone-based round houses, survive as low walls or banks enclosing
a circular floor area; the remains of a turf or thatch roof are not preserved
as visible features. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and
may occur in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone.
Enclosures are discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of
stone and earth. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for
crop-growing and were sometimes subdivided to accommodate animal shelters and
hut circle settlements for farmers or herders. The size and form of enclosures
may therefore vary considerably depending on their particular function.
Prehistoric field systems, hut circles and enclosures are important elements
of the existing landscape and provide important evidence on the nature and
organisation of farming practices and settlement among prehistoric
communities.
This monument on Lamelgate Farm has survived well. The evidence for
successive phases in the prehistoric field system's construction and its
incorporation of the earlier enclosure and of the hut circle settlement,
demonstrate well the nature and development of farming practices and social
organisation during the Bronze Age. The stone hut circles are also unusual in
their incorporation of especially large edge-set wall slabs. The extensive
lynchetting of the prehistoric field walls will preserve buried land surfaces
contemporary with the field system's construction and use. The proximity of
the monument to broadly contemporary groups of cairns on the surrounding
hilltops shows well the nature of land use and the relationship of settlement
to funerary and ritual activity among Bronze Age communities.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
consulted 1993, Carter, A./Fletcher, M.J./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2171,
consulted 1993, Carter, A./Fletcher, M.J./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2171,
consulted 1993, Carter, A./Fletcher, M.J./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2171,
consulted 1993, Carter, A./Fletcher, M.J./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2171,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1255,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1255.01,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1255.02,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1255.03,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1255.04,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1255.05,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1255.06,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1255.07,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1255.08,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1348,

Source: Historic England

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