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Prehistoric stone circle, trackway, cairnfields, funerary cairns, hut circles, Romano-British farmstead and a medieval field system, 1.1km south east of Stainton

A Scheduled Monument in Waberthwaite, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.3322 / 54°19'56"N

Longitude: -3.3333 / 3°19'59"W

OS Eastings: 313396.812551

OS Northings: 493782.375741

OS Grid: SD133937

Mapcode National: GBR 5L5B.4S

Mapcode Global: WH71G.RCXP

Entry Name: Prehistoric stone circle, trackway, cairnfields, funerary cairns, hut circles, Romano-British farmstead and a medieval field system, 1.1km SE of Stainton

Scheduled Date: 5 September 1963

Last Amended: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016988

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32830

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Waberthwaite

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Waberthwaite St John

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of a prehistoric stone
circle, a trackway, four cairnfields, two funerary cairns, two hut circles, a
Romano-British farmstead and a medieval enclosed field system. It is located
on gently-sloping unenclosed moorland on Waberthwaite Fell, 1.1km south east
of Stainton Beck and represents evidence for the prehistoric, Romano-British
and medieval exploitation of this landscape.
The prehistoric stone circle is located at SD13429386 and includes a circle of
15 granite stones approximately 20m in diameter. Some of the stones on the
circle's western side may have been disturbed because they now form part of
the enclosure wall of an adjacent Romano-British farmstead. This enclosure
measures approximately 32m in diameter and has an entrance on its eastern
side. Internally there is a hut circle immediately north of the entrance and
there are traces of a second hut circle and a small cairn on the enclosure's
western side. A Romano-British penannular brooch was found here during limited
excavation in 1957. A short distance south west of the farmstead, located on
either side of Whitrow Beck, are two parallel stone banks which are
interpreted as marking the course of a broad trackway. The banks are about 50m
apart and approximately 165m long. A cairnfield centred at SD13309385 and
consisting of about 80 clearance cairns and a few short lengths of stone bank
lies to the north east, north west, west and south west of the Romano-British
farmstead and extends between the trackway's stone banks and to the south of
the trackway. A second cairnfield, located south of Whitrow Beck and centred
at SD13019354, also consists of about 80 clearance cairns and a few short
lengths of stone bank. Within this cairnfield are two small funerary cairns;
the larger being oval-shaped and measuring 4.9m by 4.1m and 0.2m high, the
smaller measuring 4m in diameter and 0.3m high. Both cairns are edged with a
stone kerb and are encircled by a shallow ditch. Also within this cairnfield
are two small hut circles; the southern hut circle is the smaller and measures
about 2.6m in diameter while the northern hut circle measures 6.7m in
diameter. Centred at approximately the same location as this cairnfield is a
medieval enclosed field system consisting of four sub-rectangular fields,
three of which are partially bounded by stone banks and lynchets. Material for
constructing these stone banks appears to have been obtained from the
cairnfield as no cairns lie adjacent to the stone banks, suggesting there has
been systematic robbing, whilst some remaining cairns display clear evidence
of stone robbing. The southernmost of the four fields is the only one not
bounded by stone banks and lynchets; its southern boundary was formed by a
trackway, part of which still survives in the modern enclosed field system
immediately to the south west. Within this southern field, close to its north
east corner and its junction with the next field to the north, there is a
rectangular stone-walled enclosure. The adjacent field to the north has a
narrow entrance on its northern side immediately off a trackway which
separates it from the northernmost of the four fields. The northernmost field
is bounded on its north east side by a small tributory of Whitrow Beck. Two
lengths of stone banking within this field suggest it may have originally have
been subdivided. To the west of this field, and separated by a trackway, is
the fourth field which is partly bounded by a combination of banks and
lynchets. A third cairnfield lies on either side of Whitrow Beck to the east
of the Romano-British farmstead and is centred at approximately SD13729395. It
consists of about 100 clearance cairns and a few short lengths of stone bank.
The fourth cairnfield is considerably smaller than the others and is centred
at SD13979375 on rising ground between Red Gill and Whitrow Beck. It consists
of seven clearance cairns and short lengths of stone bank and a short length
of wall.
The prehistoric remains at Whitrow Beck represent either sporadic or transient
occupation over a long period. Sporadic occupation is then attested by the
Romano-British farmstead and the medieval field system. It is possible that
some or all of the cairns forming the two cairnfields to the east and west of
the Romano-British farmstead may be associated with land clearance associated
with the Romano-British occupation. The stone-banked trackway may also be
associated with the Romano-British farmstead.
All modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Cumbrian uplands comprise large areas of remote mountainous terrain, much
of which is largely open fellside. As a result of archaeological surveys
between 1980 and 1990 within the Lake District National Park, these fells have
become one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the open fells
there is sufficient well preserved and understood evidence over extensive
areas for human exploitation of these uplands from the Neolithic to the post-
medieval period. On the enclosed land and within forestry the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but they survive sufficiently well to show that human
activity extended beyond the confines of the open fells. Bronze Age activity
accounts for the most extensive use of the area, and evidence for it includes
some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairn fields in
England, as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles
and other ceremonial remains. Taken together, their remains can provide a
detailed insight into life in the later prehistoric period. Of additional
importance is the well-preserved and often visible relationship between the
remains of earlier and later periods, since this provides an understanding of
changes in land use through time. Because of their rarity in a national
context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, most
prehistoric monuments on the Lake District fells will be identified as
nationally important.

In Cumbria several distinctive types of native settlements dating to the Roman
period have been identified. The majority were small, non-defensive, enclosed
homesteads or farms. In many areas they were of stone construction, although
in the coastal lowlands timber-built variants were also common. These
homesteads were being built and used by non-Roman natives throughout the Roman
occupation and their origins lie in settlement forms developed before the
arrival of the Romans. These homesteads are common throughout the uplands
where they frequently survive as well-preserved earthworks. All homestead
sites which survive substantially intact will normally be identified as
nationally important.
Medieval enclosed field systems comprise fields defined and enclosed by a
physical boundary. These boundaries can take various forms including walls,
hedges, earth and stone banks and ditches. Component features common to most
enclosed field systems include ridge and furrow and lynchets. The development
of enclosed field systems during the medieval period was a response to
population pressure and expansion onto marginal land, and the extent and
morphology of these field systems resulted from the nature of the topography
and social and economic constraints such as the size of the population they
were intended to support. The majority of enclosed field systems are thought
to have been used for pasture but others contained cultivated ground. Some
continued in use throughout the post-medieval period and are a major feature
of the modern landscape. They occur widely throughout England with a tendancy
towards upland areas associated with largely dispersed settlement patterns.
Medieval enclosed field systems offer good opportunities for understanding
medieval rural economy and provide valuable evidence regarding the morphology
of field systems, their extent and distribution.
The prehistoric stone circle, trackway, cairnfields, funerary cairns and hut
circles, 1.1km south east of Stainton survive well and form part of a large
area of well-preserved prehistoric landscape extending along the fellsides of
south west Cumbria. The monument contains a complex and diverse group of
prehistoric monument classes and together these represent evidence of long
term management and exploitation of this area in prehistoric times.
Additionally a Romano-British farmstead survives well, is a good example of
this class of monument, and will facilitate any further study of Romano-
British settlement patterns in the area. The medieval enclosed field system
also survives well and will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of
settlement and economy during the medieval period. Overall the monument is a
rare example of a landscape within which evidence of human exploitation is
visible through a range of remarkably well-preserved monuments dating to the
prehistoric, Romano-British and medieval periods.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Quartermaine, J, Whitrow Beck Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Whitrow Beck Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Whitrow Beck Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Whitrow Beck Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Whitrow Beck Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Whitrow Beck Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Whitrow Beck Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Whitrow Beck Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Whitrow Beck Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Whitrow Beck Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Whitrow Beck Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Whitrow Beck Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 27-31
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 27-31
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 27-31

Source: Historic England

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