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Toad's Mouth prehistoric field system

A Scheduled Monument in Dore and Totley, Sheffield

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Latitude: 53.3236 / 53°19'25"N

Longitude: -1.6123 / 1°36'44"W

OS Eastings: 425922.999919

OS Northings: 380813.842954

OS Grid: SK259808

Mapcode National: GBR KZ50.R9

Mapcode Global: WHCCP.6QHD

Entry Name: Toad's Mouth prehistoric field system

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1954

Last Amended: 23 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017507

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29797

County: Sheffield

Electoral Ward/Division: Dore and Totley

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Dore Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield


The monument includes a series of Bronze Age cairns with associated lynchets
and clearance banks. The remains are located in open moorland overlooking the
Burbage Valley, a short distance to the north of a natural rock outcrop known
as the Toad's Mouth. The features show that the area was one of prehistoric
settlement comprising an area cleared of stones and used for agriculture. They
occupy gently shelving and relatively well-drained land facing to the south
The scheduling includes at least 70 cairns of medium and large stones
distributed throughout the entire area of protection. Many of the cairns
appear to have been placed over large earthfast boulders. Some appear to have
been disturbed in recent times, others appear intact. Recent heather burning
has exposed many of the cairns and the surrounding area showing that the land
has been cleared of surface stones. At least one of the cairns appears to have
been reused as a shooting butt. The cairns vary in size, ranging from
approximately 2m to 9m in diameter. Some of them, especially the larger
ones are ovoid in plan. During the 19th century, some of the cairns were
opened but only fragments of calcified bones were found within them. It is
thought that the primary function of the cairns was for agricultural clearance
with any burial deposits being secondary.
In the north western part of the cairnfield, there are several low lynchets
(small scarps) between some of the smaller cairns. The lynchets are now
fragmentary and stand only a few centimetres high. To the south of the
lynchets, in the centre-west of the cairnfield, are the fragmentary remains of
linear banks comprised of stone clearance debris. The banks are now turf
covered although some stone debris can be seen. Although they are now
fragmentary, the presence of the lynchets and clearance banks illustrate
that the area was used for agricultural purposes and that at least
some of the cleared area was arranged as a field system. The banks would have
been created as the result of loose stone debris being moved to the sides of
the fields which were by then probably enclosed by hedges or fencing.
The area is crossed by a more recent trackway which is now grass covered
forming a `green lane'. It is no longer used except as a path. It runs from
the south of the area of protection, northwards, and leaves the area to
the west of the rock outcrop at the northern end of the cairnfield. In
addition, the area is also crossed by several braids of minor hollow ways
which were probably created for moorland access from settlement lower down
the Burbage Valley and from industrial period quarrying activities. Some of
the hollow ways may date from the medieval period.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fenceposts and wire fencing, although the
ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 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.

This field system survives well and will contribute to the understanding of
the prehistoric agricultural use of this area of the Peak District.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bateman, T, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, (1849)
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 32
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983)

Source: Historic England

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