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Prehistoric irregular and regular aggregate field systems, enclosure, stone hut circles, cairnfield and kerbed boulder 750m ESE of Siblyback Farm

A Scheduled Monument in St. Cleer, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5255 / 50°31'31"N

Longitude: -4.4806 / 4°28'50"W

OS Eastings: 224268.138609

OS Northings: 72460.209983

OS Grid: SX242724

Mapcode National: GBR NF.J6WR

Mapcode Global: FRA 17HN.XZL

Entry Name: Prehistoric irregular and regular aggregate field systems, enclosure, stone hut circles, cairnfield and kerbed boulder 750m ESE of Siblyback Farm

Scheduled Date: 3 July 1992

Last Amended: 30 November 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010060

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15083

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Cleer

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Cleer

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes three prehistoric irregular aggregate field systems
with a large prehistoric enclosure at their central meeting point. The field
systems and enclosure have stone hut circles incorporated, and adjacent; and
one field system has an adjacent kerbed boulder. The field systems overlie
fragments of an earlier regular aggregate field system incorporating stone hut
circles and a cairnfield.
The monument is situated on a west facing slope close to a large group of
broadly contemporary funerary and ceremonial monuments at the north west edge
of Craddock Moor on south east Bodmin Moor.
The irregular aggregate field systems comprise discrete collections of field
plots, each up to 0.6ha and varying considerably in shape and size.
They survive with curving rubble walls, up to 2m wide and 1m high. The
three such field systems in this monument are situated to the east, south and
north west of a pentagonal prehistoric enclosure. The eastern field system
comprises over 20 fields, of 0.15ha-0.4ha each. The compact ovoid
pattern of fields displays development in at least four successive stages from
the fields in its north west corner. This field system's walls also contain
many edge-and end-set boulders, called orthostats, forming continuous rows in
some parts and flanking short gaps, c.1m wide, marking entrances between many
fields. The uphill sides of most field walls are partly buried beneath
soil deposits brought down the hillslope by cultivation, a process called
lynchetting. The two fields at the north east edge of the field system are
separated by a short straight trackway flanked by walls 8m apart; where the
trackway meets the edge of the field system, an entrance is formed by two
edge-set slabs, 1.25m long and 2m apart, placed across the line of the field
wall. Small turf-covered mounds of stone, called clearance cairns, are
situated at several points on the field walls. Eight stone hut circles are
built into this field system's walls; a ninth is centred 10m beyond its south
east corner. All are levelled into the hillslope and survive with rubble walls
up to 2m wide and 0.75m high, enclosing internal areas ranging from 3m to 9.5m
in diameter. All except the two smallest hut circles have both internal and
external facing slabs in their walling, and two show areas of floor cobbling.
Four have entrances facing between south east and south west, three of these
flanked by orthostats. Two hut circles in the field system's southern edge
have been partitioned internally by medieval walling, probably forming
herdsmen's shelters. A ground-fast boulder, 5m by 2.5m and centred 3.5m beyond
the system's north corner, is encircled by a continuous row of small
orthostats, forming a prehistoric ceremonial monument.
The southern irregular field system comprises three surviving fields of
0.25ha-0.6ha with traces of a fourth to their west, forming a
subrectangular block, with lynchetted rubble walls. Clearance cairns are
situated within the western field and 10m beyond its southern and north east
walls. This field system contains five stone hut circles with rubble walls up
to 1.7m wide and 0.5m high, around levelled internal areas 5m-7.5m in
diameter. Inner facing slabs are visible in the northernmost hut
circle; the others are largely turf-covered. A further five hut circles are
situated 20m-110m west of this field system's surviving boundaries, in an area
partly cleared by recent stone-robbing along the moor-edge, but considered to
have formerly been encompassed by the same irregular field system. These hut
circles are of similar construction, with rubble walls up to 1.7m wide and
0.7m high defining levelled internal areas ranging 9m-9.5m in diameter. All
contain several inner facing slabs, some of which are massive, up to 1.1m high
and 2m long. Three of these hut circles have adjacent rubble-walled annexes
with levelled internal areas ranging in size from 3.5m by 2.5m against the
east side of the south east hut circle in this group, to 12.5m by 9.75m
against the southern side of the western of these hut circles.
The north western irregular field system survives as two small rounded fields,
of 0.06ha and 0.2ha, with the eastern parts of two more fields surviving
to their west above the modern field wall. Built into their lynchetted rubble
walls are three stone hut circles. These have rubble walls, visibly coursed in
one case, 1.75m wide and up to 1m high, with inner facing slabs and entrances
facing west to north west. Their levelled internal areas range from 5.5m to 8m
in diameter. The north west and southern hut circles each have an ovoid,
rubble-walled annexe measuring 4.5m by 2m internally. A small shelter, 2m in
internal diameter with thick rubble walls, is centred 7m north west of the
southern hut circle. The pentagonal prehistoric enclosure at the focus of the
irregular field systems encompasses 0.9ha, surviving as a lynchetted
rubble wall, up to 1.75m wide and 0.6m high, containing inner and outer
rows of small orthostats. Two small hut circles are built against the
enclosure's outer face on its north and west sides, each with a rubble wall
1.5m wide and 0.6m high with inner and outer facing slabs. The western hut
circle has an internal area 5.5m in diameter, the northern is 5m in diameter
but largely filled with stone cleared during a later episode. Two more hut
circles of similar construction are centred 42m south west of the enclosure.
They have internal diameters of 7m and 7.5m and each is encircled by a small
levelled area.
The north western and southern irregular field systems are each superimposed
on the earlier walls of more regularly-shaped rectangular fields. This field
system's walls rise in parallel, 10m-42m apart, up the hillslope, running
WSW-ENE. Most end to the east on a north-south wall at about the 295m contour
level, though some end on other north-south lynchetted walls subdividing the
fields 85m and 145m to the west. This field system's walls survive as low
rubble banks, up to 1.5m wide and 0.5m high, lynchetted where they run across
the hillslope, and largely or wholly removed where they approach the walls or
cross the field plots of the irregular field systems. Two blocks of this
regular field system survive, north and south of the pentagonal enclosure.
The northern block covers 3ha; the two rectangular fields comprising
its south east hectare contain numerous small clearance cairns scattered 5m-
10m apart, forming a well-defined cairnfield. This block also contains six hut
circles with rubble walls up to 2m wide and 0.75m high, enclosing levelled
internal diameters of 6.5m-10m. The walls have inner and outer facing slabs
and four have entrances, facing north east, south, WNW and south west.
Three of the hut circles are situated on the block's lower surviving lynchets.
Two of the hut circles are clustered 2m apart, each with a small ovoid annexe
built against its west wall.
The southern block of regular fields comprises parts of three parallel walls
running up the hillslope and two north-south walls. This block lacks any hut
circles certainly associated with it. The northern and eastern walls of the
southern block were later reused for the course of a ditched medieval field
boundary. That field contains traces of medieval ridge-and-furrow cultivation
which extend further east across most of the prehistoric fields in this
monument, reusing rather than disrupting the earlier boundaries.

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, field boundaries and enclosures are a major
feature of the Moor landscape. Several methods of field layout are known to
have been employed in south west England from the Bronze Age to the Roman
period (c.2000 BC-400 AD). These include both irregular and regular
aggregate field systems. Irregular aggregate field systems comprise a
collection of field plots, generally lacking in conformity of orientation and
arrangement, containing fields with sinuous outlines and varying shapes and
sizes. By contrast, 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. Enclosures are discrete plots of land
constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop-growing. Both types
of field system and enclosures are bounded by stone or rubble walls or banks,
ditches or fences. They frequently contain small heaps of stone cleared from
the surface before or during the plots' use, called clearance cairns, which
may form dense concentrations called cairnfields. The field systems and
enclosures are often located around or near settlement sites and they
sometimes incorporate or occur near ceremonial or funerary monuments. Stone
hut circles were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on the Moor,
mostly dating from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone-based round
houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area;
remains of a turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts occur singly or
in small or large groups and may occur in the open or be enclosed by a bank of
earth and stone. Each of these types of monument forms an important element
of the existing landscape and is representative of its period. Their
longevity of use and their relationships with other monument types provide
important information on the diversity of farming practices and social
organisation among prehistoric communities.
This monument on Craddock Moor survives well; its hut circles and field walls
display an unusual range of original features and have been surveyed but not
excavated. The kerbed boulder in the monument has survived undisturbed and is
one of only two examples of this rare monument class known on Bodmin Moor.
The monument's inclusion of two successive phases of prehistoric field system
and its proximity to a major concentration of broadly contemporary ceremonial
and funerary monuments demonstrate well the organisation and development of
land use during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
consulted 1991 & 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1252.05,
consulted 1991 & 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1252.07,
consulted 1991 & 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1252.08,
consulted 1992, Carter, A./Fletcher, M. J. RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2472,
consulted 1992, Carter, A./Fletcher, M.J./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2372 & SX 2472,

Source: Historic England

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