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Medieval farmstead and field system 525m south of Yarncliff Quarry

A Scheduled Monument in Grindleford, Derbyshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.3056 / 53°18'20"N

Longitude: -1.6194 / 1°37'9"W

OS Eastings: 425455.789677

OS Northings: 378810.188557

OS Grid: SK254788

Mapcode National: GBR KZ46.6R

Mapcode Global: WHCCW.353N

Entry Name: Medieval farmstead and field system 525m south of Yarncliff Quarry

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018273

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29818

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Grindleford

Built-Up Area: Nether Padley

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Details

The monument includes the foundations of four medieval long houses and
associated clearance features comprising linear banks. The remains form a
small settlement and relicts of a field system. All four of the long houses
are similar in form, although arranged as two pairs of buildings, each pair
having a large and a small building. One pair is located towards the centre of
the field, the other at the southern end of the enclosure, next to a small
animal pound. The long houses are contained within a small post-medieval
enclosure which, unlike the surrounding fields, has not been improved.
Approximately 400m to the north are the remains of two medieval enclosures
which are likely to be contemporary with the long houses and are the subject
of a separate scheduling.
All four of the long houses are ovoid in shape. Of the southernmost pair, the
larger and more northerly building measures approximately 9m by 4.5m. The
other long house is 7.5m by 3m. The walls of each building, which were
constructed of stones and turf, stand to a height of 0.65m and are about 0.6m
thick. Both buildings are oriented east-west and have two opposing entrances,
one on both of the longer sides. The entrances are not central, but towards
the western ends of each building. The long houses stand on platforms cut into
a slight south facing slope and are revetted at their western ends with large
orthostats (upright boulders) and turf. Within the larger building is an
irregular, shallow depression about 1.5m in diameter of unknown origin and
function but may be the result of an excavation.
The second pair of long houses in the centre of the enclosure are of a similar
construction. The walls stand to a height of approximately 0.35m. The
smaller of the two long houses is also oriented east-west like the southerly
pair and also stands on a platform similarly revetted at its west end. The
larger long house stands to the west of the smaller and is oriented north-
south. It, too, stands on a platform cut into the hillslope on the eastern
side and is revetted with stones and turf on the long side to the west.
Within the same small field are the remains of linear clearance features
comprising three distinct lengths of turf containing large weathered stones.
Two of the banks now outline a disused hollow way and track leading towards a
post-medieval barn in another enclosure to the north. The clearance is likely
to be part of the settlement assarting or removed from previous clearance
heaps when the hollow way came into usage. The third linear bank lies closer
to the long houses and is likely to be related to clearance associated with
that settlement. In addition, there are small quarrying depressions within the
enclosure which are probably related to wall building activities.
Similar long houses, approximately 450m to the west at Lawrence Field, have
been partially excavated and pottery evidence dates the structures to the 11th
or 12th century at the latest. The long houses and medieval field systems are
almost certainly associated with clearance and enclosure of common land during
the medieval period, a process resulting in irregular enclosures known as
assarts. The remains in Lawrence Field, Sheffield Plantation and these
long houses represent the intaking of the plateau above Padley Manor.
Excluded from the scheduling are all post medieval walls, gates, fences and
posts, although the ground beneath is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
The High Peak local region uplands bear traces of pre-medieval occupation, but
the barren plateaux surfaces are now virtually uninhabited. Dark gritstone
farmhouses were built in sheltered hollows, while deserted and derelict
habitation sites witness the harsh conditions in these sheep grazing lands, or
mark moribund industrial ventures. Of medieval settlements only a few
dispersed homestead sites have so far been recognised.

In the medieval period many areas of the county supported a pattern of
dispersed rather than nucleated settlement. Small hamlets or individual farms
were spread across the countryside, their distribution often reflecting the
pattern of land suitable for agriculture. In some areas this dispersed
settlement pattern reflected `pioneer' activity as land was first claimed for
agriculture. Evidence for such settlements takes a variety of forms.
Earthworks may indicate platforms on which houses and other buildings stood or
may indicate the buildings themselves. Roads, trackways and enclosed crofts
and paddocks may also be identifiable. Dispersed settlements provide an
important insight into medieval rural life in the five or more centuries
following the Norman Conquest.
Dispersed settlements were supported by agricultural exploitation of adjacent
land. Fields were defined, often by stone walls, with land inside them being
cleared of stone to improve their use for cultivation or animal pasturage.
Traces of these field-systems are often preserved as earthwork features.
The medieval long houses and associated field remains 525m south of Yarncliff
Quarry are well preserved and are important in demonstrating pioneer medieval
settlement in the Peak District uplands.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Hart, CR, North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500, (1981), 132
Hart, CR, North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey, (1984), 132
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)
Other
Barnatt, JW, Yarncliffe, Longshaw Estate .... Derbyshire, 1994, unpublished survey report
Barnatt, JW, Yarncliffe, Longshaw Estate .... Derbyshire, 1994, unpublished survey report

Source: Historic England

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