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Stoke Flat East prehistoric field system

A Scheduled Monument in Froggatt, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2843 / 53°17'3"N

Longitude: -1.6199 / 1°37'11"W

OS Eastings: 425439.463948

OS Northings: 376439.769457

OS Grid: SK254764

Mapcode National: GBR KZ4G.3C

Mapcode Global: WHCCW.2QX1

Entry Name: Stoke Flat East prehistoric field system

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017591

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29804

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Froggatt

Built-Up Area: Froggatt

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Curbar All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes a series of Bronze Age cairns with associated clearance
banks forming a prehistoric field system. The remains are located in open
moorland close to a gritstone scarp edge known as Froggatt Edge which
overlooks the River Derwent. The remains occupy gently shelving and well
drained land sloping to the east. A short distance to the west is another
similar prehistoric field system known as Stoke Flat West which is the subject
of a separate scheduling (SM 29805).
There are up to 19 cairns composed of medium and large stones within the
monument. Some appear to have been placed over large earthfast boulders.
Although one or two of the cairns have been disturbed in recent times, others
are still intact. The area has been cleared of stones and, despite heather
growth, the remains are easily traced. The cairns are of varying size, ranging
from 2m to 8.5m in diameter. Some of them are ovoid in plan where they are
associated with linear clearance. It is thought that the primary function of
the cairns was for agricultural clearance but such cairns were often reused
for funerary purposes. At Stoke Flat some cairns, especially the larger ones
where further stone was added to the original cairn, may have served such a
function. One particular cairn, measuring about 7m by 8.5m and lying close to
the centre of the monument, is very prominent and is likely to have been
reused in this way. The most impressive features of the monument are the
linear clearance banks. These are lengths of low, wide banking containing
various sizes of cleared stone and are in an extremely good state of
preservation, being less fragmentary than elsewhere in the East Moors of
Derbyshire. Many of the banks survive to a height of about 0.6m to 0.7m. They
were most likely formed from the clearance of the landscape during which
stones were moved from the edges of fields and placed along their boundaries.
These boundaries were probably also marked by hedges or fences.
The arrangement of linear clearance shows that the area was divided into small
irregular and sub-rectangular fields and smaller enclosures which are better
described as yards. Towards the centre of the field system are two very
prominent enclosures which are all but complete. Practically the entire
western boundary of the field system is bounded by a near continuous clearance
bank which stands on the top of the break of slope. The banks are now turf
covered, although some stone debris can be seen emerging from them. The field
banks and clearance cairns together confirm that the area was used for
agricultural purposes but it is likely that contemporary settlements, at
present unlocated, also lay within the area of the monument.
Beyond the southern end of the monument are further fragmentary lengths of
linear clearance bank which indicate that the field system was originally more
extensive. These fragmentary remains are not included in the
The area is crossed by several braids of hollow way running east to west.
These are of uncertain date but may have been medieval routeways providing
access to moorland pasture from adjacent settlements. At the southern end of
the monument a post medieval sheepfold has caused some disturbance to the
prehistoric remains.
All post-medieval stone walls and fencing are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath is included.

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

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.

Prehistoric field systems often consist of concentrations of clearance cairns,
sometimes with linear clearance banks. The features were constructed from
stone cleared from the surrounding landscape to improve its use for
agriculture and on occaisions their distribution pattern can be seen to define
field plots. Such field systems were constructed from the Neolithic period
(from c.3400 BC), although the majority of examples 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
the sites provide important information on the development of land use and
agricultural practices.
The monument at Stoke Flat East is a good example of a well developed
prehistoric field system created by extensive clearance of stone from the
moorland. Of all the Bronze Age field systems on the East Moors of
Derbyshire, few contain such good examples of irregular and sub-rectangular

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 35-6
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 35-6
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., (1983)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., (1983)

Source: Historic England

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