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Hob Hurst's House: a square, banked and ditched burial cairn with cist on Harland Edge

A Scheduled Monument in Brampton, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2194 / 53°13'9"N

Longitude: -1.571 / 1°34'15"W

OS Eastings: 428743.379294

OS Northings: 369234.840478

OS Grid: SK287692

Mapcode National: GBR 57X.5MM

Mapcode Global: WHCD8.VB3S

Entry Name: Hob Hurst's House: a square, banked and ditched burial cairn with cist on Harland Edge

Scheduled Date: 18 August 1882

Last Amended: 25 October 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008600

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23324

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Brampton

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Beeley St Anne

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument is situated on the crest of Harland Edge which is in the area of
the eastern gritstone moorlands of the Peak District commonly known as the
East Moors. It includes a roughly square gritstone cairn, measuring 8m by 7.5m
by c.0.9m high, which incorporates a central cist comprising 13 contiguous
gritstone orthostats which together form a rectangular, box-like structure
measuring 3m by 2m internally. Surrounding the cairn is a steep-sided 3m wide
rock-cut ditch which is in turn enclosed by a 1m high bank measuring between
3m and 4m wide. Both bank and ditch are rectilinear in plan and have rounded
corners. On the north side, the bank has been cut through by a path of
relatively recent date which follows the edge of the ditch. Recently, erosion
on the south side of the central cairn revealed a stone retaining wall around
its outer edge.
The cist was revealed during a partial excavation of the cairn by Thomas
Bateman in 1853. Bateman found a layer of charcoal throughout the interior of
the cist, indicating that it had been the site of a cremation. In the
south eastern corner, a deposit of calcined bones and charcoal was found with
pieces of burnt galena or lead ore. The deposit had been demarcated by an arc
of fire-scorched sandstone rocks, a practice stated by Bateman as being rare
in the Midlands but common in the Channel Islands. A second deposit of burnt
bones was found on the north side of the cist. These remains indicate a
Bronze Age date for the cairn which is only one of several to be found on
Harland Edge and which stands above the extensive Bronze Age field systems
occurring on Beeley Moor and Beeley Warren which lie to the south west. The
monument has been in State care since 1884.

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

Hob Hurst's House is an unusual form of fancy barrow or cairn which most
closely resembles the type known as a saucer barrow, although there are
significant differences between the two. True saucer barrows are funerary
monuments of the Early Bronze Age, with most examples dating to between 1800
and 1200 BC. They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries; that is,
closely spaced groups of round barrows. They were constructed as a circular
area of level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and largely occupied
by a single, low, squat mound covering one or more burials, usually in a pit.
The burials, either inhumations or cremations, are sometimes accompanied by
tools, pottery vessels and personal ornaments. Saucer barrows are one of the
rarest recognised forms of round barrow with about 60 known examples
nationally, most of which are in Wessex. The presence of grave goods within
the barrows provides important evidence for chronological and cultural links
amongst prehistoric communities over a wide area of southern England as well
as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a rare
and fragile form of barrow, all identified saucer barrows would normally be
considered to be of national importance.
Not only does Hob Hurst's House lie outside the main distribution area for
this class of monument, it exhibits an unconventional form, being roughly
square instead of circular and including such atypical features as a cist and
retaining wall. Partial excavation of the site has provided clear evidence of
an in situ cremation which, together with the monument's unusual architecture
and the particular characteristics of its burial remains, illustrates well the
diversity in funerary practices associated with Bronze Age communities. The
monument is well preserved and, as excavation has been limited to the cist
and part of the south side of the central mound, it retains substantial
intact archaeological remains throughout the rest of the mound and in the
bank and ditch. The monument also forms part of a wider relict Bronze Age
landscape which includes other burial cairns and ceremonial and settlement
evidence. It is the only burial cairn of exactly this type so far identified
in the Peak District although another cairn on the East Moors, located
c.1.5km to the north east has some similarities.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Bateman, T, Ten Years Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave-Hills, (1861), 87-89
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 63
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
Barnatt, John, (1993)
Title: Contour survey
Source Date: 1988
Carried out for HBMC

Source: Historic England

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