Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield and associated remains, 250m south east of Bragg House, Barningham Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Barningham, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.4827 / 54°28'57"N

Longitude: -1.8857 / 1°53'8"W

OS Eastings: 407500.543992

OS Northings: 509715.31915

OS Grid: NZ075097

Mapcode National: GBR HJ8L.JV

Mapcode Global: WHC5Y.0L9B

Entry Name: Cairnfield and associated remains, 250m south east of Bragg House, Barningham Moor

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017419

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30485

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Barningham

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Barningham St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes a prehistoric cairnfield, an enclosure, and four
individual cairns. It is situated on Barningham Moor, 250m south east of Bragg
The cairnfield is small, with adjacent rubble walling, on and around a low
ridge. There are at least six cairns, measuring between 4m and 5m in diameter
and all about 0.4m high. They are composed of sandstone rubble. In two cases
this has been piled around a sandstone boulder. The rubble banks are up to 3m
wide and 0.2m high. They appear to represent a later division of the land.
There are three stretches of bank; the longest, just south of the ridge, is
approximately 44m long. The shortest is on the north side of the ridge and is
4m long.
The prehistoric enclosure is rubble banked, 185m long and 125m wide, enclosing
a small knoll known as Brown Hill, 400m ESE of Bragg House. It may represent
the prehistoric division of land. The enclosure is an irregular shape, as the
rubble bank follows the base of the slope of Brown Hill. On the south side the
base of the slope is less clear, and the bank appears to run in a relatively
straight line from the south east to the south west corner of the enclosure.
It is however only traceable for part of the length of this side. The rubble
bank is between 2m and 3m wide, and typically 0.3m high. It is heather clad
for most of its length. A short stretch of boulder wall is associated with the
enclosure on its west side.
Three of the individual cairns have diameters of 5m, and are 0.4m high. the
fourth cairn is larger, with a diameter of about 10m an a height of 0.4m. All
the cairns have been robbed for stone, in three cases leaving a circular
rubble bank.
The stone built grouse butts are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them is included.

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

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 occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without
excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC),
although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance
which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze
Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size,
content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the
development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the
prehistoric period.

Funerary cairns date to the Bronze Age (c. 2000-700 BC). They were constructed
as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. They are a relatively
common feature of the uplands. Their considerable variation in form, and
longevity as a monument type, provide important information on the diversity
of beliefs and social organisation amongst prehistoric communities and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
In the uplands of northern England a wide variety of prehistoric enclosures
may be found. These range from relatively large, regular enclosures with earth
and stone banks, to smaller, irregular areas enclosed by boulder walls. Most
are dated to the Bronze Age, Iron Age or early Romano-British period
(2000 BC-200 AD). The larger regular enclosures tend to be dated towards the
later part of this period, the smaller irregular enclosures towards the
beginning. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to other
monument classses provides important information on the diversity of social
organisation and land use among prehistoric communities.
The cairnfield, cairns and prehistoric enclosure 250m south east of Bragg
House form an important part of the archaeological features on Barningham
Moor. The cairnfield and cairns survive well and will contribute to our
knowledge of prehistoric burial practice. The enclosure survives well and will
contribute to our knowledge of prehistoric agricultural practices. The
features in this area form an important part of the prehistoric landscape of
Barningham Moor, which includes numerous prehistoric carved rocks and evidence
for prehistoric burials, settlements and the agricultural use of the land.
This site will therefore contribute to studies of such prehistoric landscapes
and the changing patterns of land use over time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Laurie, T, 'Archaeological Newsbulletin Series 2' in Archaeological Newsbulletin CBA Regional Group Three, , Vol. 3, (1977), 11
Cairnfields on Barningham Moor, Laurie, T, (1997)
Cairns on Barningham Moor, Laurie, T, (1997)
Enclosures on Barningham Moor, Laurie, T, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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