Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield, 870m north east of Stanage House

A Scheduled Monument in Highlow, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.3063 / 53°18'22"N

Longitude: -1.6757 / 1°40'32"W

OS Eastings: 421707.827702

OS Northings: 378870.009422

OS Grid: SK217788

Mapcode National: GBR JZR6.0H

Mapcode Global: WHCCV.7594

Entry Name: Cairnfield, 870m north east of Stanage House

Scheduled Date: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016809

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31240

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Highlow

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Eyam St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes a prehistoric cairnfield comprising clearance cairns,
linear banks and at least one hut platform. The cairnfield is one of a group
of similar monuments providing evidence of extensive prehistoric agriculture
on Eyam Moor.
The monument comprises a series of well-preserved cairns of medium and small
stones gathered in prehistoric times as the result of land clearance. There
are approximately 30 or more cairns, most of which range from about 2.5m to
6m in diameter, although a small number are slightly larger and several are
ovoid in shape. A few of the cairns have been disturbed but most are complete.
There are also traces of linear clearance banks within the cairnfield,
indicating that the area was divided into field plots, probably by hedges or
fences. At least three stretches of field banks have been identified which
also contain irregular clearance cairns. One platform has so far been
identified which indicates the presence of a building, but it is likely that
other timber buildings also existed, traces of which have now been eroded
The monument is interpreted as an area of intense agricultural activity and
settlement dating to the Bronze Age.
All modern drystone walls, gates and fences are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 3 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the
River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open
moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going
archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best
recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early
human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors.
On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over
extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the
Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the
most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the
largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England
as well settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other
ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in
the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible
relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this
provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time.
A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity
in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections,
will be identified as nationally important.

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one
another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone
cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture
and on occasions their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
Occasionally, some of the cairns were used for funerary purposes although
without excavation it is difficult to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3,400 BC)
although the majority date from the Bronze Age (2,000-700 BC). Cairnfields can
also retain information concerning the development of land use and
agricultural practices as well as the diveristy of beliefs and social
organisation during the prehistoric period.
The cairnfield, 870m north east of Stanage House is well-preserved and
incorporates traces of linear banks as well as random clearance suggesting
that the area was originally sub-divided into fields. Unusually it also
retains evidence of a settlement within the field system.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 70-1
Barnatt, J. W., Highlow Hall and Eyam Moor ... Archaeological Survey 1994-5, 1995, unpublished survey report
Barnatt, J. W., Highlow Hall and Eyam Moor ... Archaeological Survey 1994-5., 1995, unpublished survey report

Source: Historic England

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