Ancient Monuments

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Polygonal prehistoric enclosure and associated field system at Petterilbank Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Hesket, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.7764 / 54°46'35"N

Longitude: -2.8281 / 2°49'41"W

OS Eastings: 346832.346106

OS Northings: 542700.443931

OS Grid: NY468427

Mapcode National: GBR 8FP6.JL

Mapcode Global: WH80Q.J6JP

Entry Name: Polygonal prehistoric enclosure and associated field system at Petterilbank Cottages

Scheduled Date: 22 October 1973

Last Amended: 9 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007872

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23670

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Hesket

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Hesket-in-the-Forest St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is a polygonal prehistoric enclosure and associated field system
located on the edge of high ground overlooking the River Petteril to the west.
Much of the site is visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs which highlight
features such as infilled ditches and a trackway.
The aerial photographs show four sides of a polygonal enclosure defended by
two parallel infilled ditches sharply angled at the corners. The exact nature
of the western side of the enclosure cannot be determined from aerial
photographs because of tree cover but it must have closely followed the cliff
line above the river. The enclosure measures approximately 140m by 110m at its
widest parts and has an entrance on its north eastern side from which a
trackway can be seen on aerial photographs running from the entrance initially
in a north easterly direction before turning to run north. To the north east
and south east of the enclosure, aerial photographs have identified the
infilled ditches of two large associated fields. The trackway from the
enclosure runs through the north eastern field which is irregularly-shaped. It
has a separate entrance close to the northern corner of the enclosure. The
sub-rectangular south eastern field measures approximately 210m by 140m at its
widest parts. The aerial photographs have also identified crop marks within
this field but these are too faint to interpret accurately. An additional
infilled ditch apparently defending the northern side of the enclosure and the
nearby field entrance has also been located on the aerial photographs.
A quernstone was reportedly ploughed up at this site in recent years.
Petterilbank Cottages, all outbuildings, walls, fences, field boundaries,
gateposts, telegraph poles, and the surfaces of access drives and farm tracks,
are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these
features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Prehistoric enclosures are plots of land usually enclosed by stone walls or
banks of stone and earth in upland areas, and banks of earth with an external
ditch in lowland areas. Many date to the Bronze Age (c.2000 - 500 BC) although
earlier and later examples also exist. 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. The size and form of
prehistoric enclosures may therefore vary very considerably, depending on
their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity, and their
relationship to other monument classes provides important information on the
diversity of social organisation and farming practices among prehistoric
communities. Field systems provide important evidence of a carefully planned
reorganisation of landscape and definition of landholdings. Their articulation
with other contemporary archaeological features, such as land boundaries and
enclosures, provides an insight into agricultural practices and activity
during the Bronze Age.
The prehistoric enclosure and associated field system at Petterilbank Cottages
remains clearly visible on aerial photographs, despite the fact that no
upstanding earthworks survive. Further evidence of the original form of the
enclosure and the activities taking place within it will be well preserved.
The monument lies within the Eden valley and its tributary valleys, an area
whose rich agricultural soils supported a considerable prehistoric and
Romano-British population from Neolithic times onwards. It will contribute to
any further study of the early settlement patterns of the area.

Source: Historic England


AP No. 2526,11, Cumbria County Council, Polygonal enclosure at Petterilbank Cottages, (1984)
AP No. 2526,5, Cumbria County Council, Polygonal enclosure at Petterilbank Cottages, (1984)
AP No. DM 064, Cambridge University Collection,
AP No. DM 064, Cambridge University Collection, Polygonal enclosure at Petterilbank Cottages,
AP No. XPI 2526,11, Cumbria County Council, Polygonal enclosure at Petterilbank Cottages, (1984)
AP No. XPI 2526,5, Cumbria County Council, Polygonal enclosure at Petterilbank Cottages, (1984)
SMR No. 712, Cumbria SMR, Polygonal enclosure at Petterilbank Cottages, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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