Ancient Monuments

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Cratcliff Rocks defended settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Elton, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.1581 / 53°9'29"N

Longitude: -1.6637 / 1°39'49"W

OS Eastings: 422584.436092

OS Northings: 362383.106813

OS Grid: SK225623

Mapcode National: GBR 58L.06N

Mapcode Global: WHCDF.FW09

Entry Name: Cratcliff Rocks defended settlement

Scheduled Date: 17 July 1985

Last Amended: 15 October 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008006

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23243

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Elton

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Youlgreave All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Derby


Cratcliff Rocks is an extensive outcrop on the edge of Harthill Moor in the
eastern gritstone moors of Derbyshire. The monument lies within the rocks on
the western edge of the outcrop and is a roughly circular enclosure comprising
a 5m wide rock-cut ditch surrounding an area of c.0.25 hectares. Boulders
enclosed by the ditch form an additional natural boundary and a number of
building platforms have been identified within the enclosure. No excavation of
the site has been carried out but it forms part of a rich prehistoric
landscape on Harthill Moor which includes burial mounds, a second enclosure
and Nine Stones Close stone circle.

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

During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of
different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied
in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts
built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites,
sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended
settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops,
others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of
earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate),
others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen
ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber
fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built
round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept
in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed
yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single
family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction
and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through
to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD).
Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element
of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are
important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during
this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national

Cratcliff Rocks defended settlement is well-preserved and is unusual in the
use of natural rock outcrops in place of an earth rampart. These natural
defences may have been augmented by a timber palisade. It lies within an area
rich in prehistoric monuments, including a second defended settlement, and
will contribute to any study of settlement and land use in this area at this

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hart, CR, North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey, (1984), 77
Heathcote, J P, Birchover, (1947), 33

Source: Historic England

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