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Stoke Flat South prehistoric field system

A Scheduled Monument in Froggatt, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2795 / 53°16'46"N

Longitude: -1.6216 / 1°37'17"W

OS Eastings: 425324.092198

OS Northings: 375902.200715

OS Grid: SK253759

Mapcode National: GBR KZ3J.Q3

Mapcode Global: WHCCW.2T2R

Entry Name: Stoke Flat South prehistoric field system

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017593

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29806

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 adjacent to a gritstone edge known as Froggatt Edge which overlooks
the River Derwent. The remains occupy gently shelving and relatively well
drained land forming a ridge sloping to the east and west. A short distance to
the north and east are similar prehistoric field systems known as Stoke Flat
West and Stoke Flat East, both of which are the subject of separate
schedulings (SMs 29804 and 29805).
There are about 15 cairns within the area of protection. These are
concentrated particularly in the northern and southern ends of the monument.
Some of the cairns have been placed over large earthfast boulders. Although
one or two appear to have been disturbed in recent times, most are still
intact. The area has been widely cleared of surface stones but is less stone-
free than other field systems in this area. The cairns are of varying size,
ranging from 2m to 8.5m in diameter. Some 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 burial purposes.
At Stoke Flat the larger cairns, where additional stone has been heaped on the
original cairn, may indicate such reuse. One large cairn located on the
northern edge of the ridge is larger than others and is particularly likely to
have been used for funerary purposes.
The monument also contains extensive remains of linear clearance banks. These
are lengths of low, wide banking containing various sizes of cleared stone.
They are in an extremely good state of preservation, being less fragmentary
than some field systems found elsewhere on the East Moors of Derbyshire. Many
of the banks survive to a height of about 0.6m, although most are now much
lower. The banks were formed during clearance of the landscape where stones
were moved from the centre to the edges of fields. These field edges were
probably also marked by hedges or fences. Many of the banks were constructed
on minor breaks of slope. The arrangement of the linear clearance shows that
the area was divided into small irregular and sub-rectangular fields and
smaller enclosures which are better described as yards. Several individual
fields or enclosures can be discerned within the system. Some smaller
enclosures, indicating the presence of possible domestic yards, lie towards
the southern end of the monument. The presence of these small yards indicates
that there were also contemporary settlements within the field system. The
western side of the field system is marked by uncleared ground before this
gives way to the scarp of Froggatt Edge.
All post-medieval stone walls and related structures, fence posts and fencing
are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features
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 accompanied by linear clearance banks. The features were
constructed from stone cleared from the surrounding landscape to improve its
use for agriculture and on occaisons their distribution pattern acn 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 South is a good example of a well-developed
prehistoric field system created from the extensive clearance of moorland. It
is also part of a wider system of prehistoric agriculture and settlement in
the East Moors of the Peak District.

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), 33-6
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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