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Town Bank prehistoric stone hut circle settlements, field systems, funerary cairns, ring cairn and cairnfield

A Scheduled Monument in Ennerdale and Kinniside, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.474 / 54°28'26"N

Longitude: -3.4085 / 3°24'30"W

OS Eastings: 308820.360002

OS Northings: 509645.713197

OS Grid: NY088096

Mapcode National: GBR 4JMP.VZ

Mapcode Global: WH70N.MT32

Entry Name: Town Bank prehistoric stone hut circle settlements, field systems, funerary cairns, ring cairn and cairnfield

Scheduled Date: 2 December 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018502

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27825

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Ennerdale and Kinniside

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Lamplugh St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of five prehistoric
stone hut circle settlements, associated field systems, funerary cairns, a
ring cairn and an extensive cairnfield. It is located towards the eastern end
of Town Bank, a large area of unenclosed moorland on the southern slopes of
Lank Rigg, and represents evidence for the prehistoric exploitation of this
landscape.
The most northerly of the stone hut circle settlements is situated
approximately 320m south east of Gray Crag at NY09040984. It consists of a
terraced platform sub-divided into two parts upon which huts are considered to
have been constructed; the smaller western part measures 9.5m by 6.5m while
the larger eastern part measures 19m by 16m. The northern wall of the platform
forms part of the boundary of a large semi-enclosed field irregularly defined
by discontinuous stone banks and walls which forms part of the stone hut
circle settlement's associated field system. Three additional stone hut
circles forming part of the settlement are built against or adjacent to the
inside of the field's boundary wall. This field is sub-oval in plan, measures
a maximum of approximately 170m by 115m, and is largely but not wholly devoid
of cairns by comparison with the cairn concentrations outside, suggesting that
deliberate stone clearance may have taken place here as part of land
improvement in preparation for agriculture. Further evidence of the associated
field system is represented by four small enclosures; two are located close
together approximately 120m south of Gray Crag and one lies immediately beyond
the north east boundary of the large field. Each of these enclosures display
lynchet-like features suggesting that cultivation took place here. The fourth
enclosure is situated approximately 460m ENE of Gray Crag; it is circular,
slightly larger than the others, has a substantial surrounding wall, and is
interpreted as a stock enclosure. Within the field system, and scattered over
a wide area on all sides of the large field other than the south west, lie
over 100 clearance cairns which form a randomly distributed cairnfield. At the
extreme eastern edge of the monument, at NY09451002, lies a ring cairn
measuring approximately 9m in diameter.
A second stone hut circle settlement and associated field system is located on
the hillslope north of Worm Gill and is centred approximately 660m SSE of Gray
Crag at NY09000940. It consists of three hut circles varying between 9m-15m in
diameter, a hut platform, and four large fields each defined by stone banks
running down the hillslope. The north eastern of these fields contains upwards
of 60 clearance cairns. By contrast the neighbouring field to the west has few
cairns but it does contain two of the hut circles, a small rectangular
enclosure which is attached to the field's western boundary bank, and a
similar enclosure at the northern end of the field. The larger of the two hut
circles in this field is connected to the enclosure by a stone wall, in the
course of which this wall diverts around the smaller hut circle thus implying
that the latter was still in use at the time of the wall's construction.
Lynchets within the enclosures indicate cultivation has taken place here. The
next field to the west has a truncated `V'-shape with its western boundary
bank terminating at the south end adjacent to a hut platform. Within this
field there are upwards of two dozen clearance cairns including one at the
southern extremity of the group which, by its size and prominence, differs
from the rest and which has been interpreted as a funerary cairn. The
westernmost field is largely devoid of cairns, contains a single hut circle at
its northern end, and is partly defined to the north by a stone bank and to
the south by a group of clearance cairns. Overall this field system is
characterised by alternating fields containing clearance cairns and fields
generally without clearance cairns.
Within the two westernmost of the fields described above are traces of another
field system having boundaries defined by alignments of clearance cairns as
opposed to stone banks. The western boundary of this field system is formed by
an alignment of seven cairns while the eastern boundary is formed by an
alignment of nine cairns.
A short distance to the north of these field systems, at NY08880946, is a
third stone hut circle settlement consisting of a hut platform approximately
21m in diameter, a hut circle measuring 12m in diameter, and an adjacent
prominent kerbed cairn measuring 8.5m in diameter and up to 1.5m high which
has been interpreted as a funerary cairn. Although lying close to the two
field systems this settlement is not physically linked to either and is
considered to be a later prehistoric feature.
A fourth stone hut circle settlement is located approximately 760m SSW of Gray
Crag at NY08450937. It consists of a hut circle measuring 11m in diameter with
two rectangular enclosures immediately to the east, both of which display
lynchets indicative of cultivation.
A fifth stone hut circle settlement is located approximately 850m south west
of Gray Crag at NY08210943. It consists of a hut circle approximately 9.5m in
diameter which has a small rectangular enclosure attached to its south western
side. Associated with this settlement is a field system consisting of three
short fields defined by four parallel stone banks running down the hillslope;
a small number of clearance cairns lie within the fields. Also associated with
the field system are three enclosures; two rectangular ones west of a stream
which both exhibit evidence of cultivation within and immediately to the west
of them, and an oval-shaped one with an entrance on its eastern side located
to the north of the short fields which is interpreted as a stock enclosure. A
hut circle and an adjacent hut platform are also located north of the fields.
Fields containing clearance cairns and fields largely devoid of them are both
found at Town Bank. The differences between these individual fields indicate
differing agricultural practices; random cairns can obstruct the use of the
plough, thus the differences between the fields is interpreted as reflecting
evidence of both pastoral and arable farming. Associated small enclosures
displaying evidence of cultivation together with stock enclosures reinforce
the interpretation that both arable and pastoral farming was undertaken here.
The remains on Town Bank reflect either sporadic or transient occupation over
a considerable time during the prehistoric period. The unenclosed hut circles
are considered by comparison with dated examples from elsewhere in northern
England to span a broad period from about 1750-450 BC.

MAP EXTRACT
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

The Cumbrian uplands comprise large areas of remote mountainous terrain, much
of which is largely open fellside. As a result of archaeological surveys
between 1980 and 1990 within the Lake District National Park, these fells have
become one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the open fells
there is sufficient well preserved and understood evidence over extensive
areas for human exploitation of these uplands from the Neolithic to the post-
medieval period. On the enclosed land and within forestry the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but they survive sufficiently well to show that human
activity extended beyond the confines of the open fells. Bronze Age activity
accounts for the most extensive use of the area, and evidence for it includes
some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairn fields in
England, as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles
and other ceremonial remains. Taken together, their remains can provide a
detailed insight into life in the later prehistoric period. Of additional
importance is the well-preserved and often visible relationship between the
remains of earlier and later periods, since this provides an understanding of
changes in land use through time. Because of their rarity in a national
context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, most
prehistoric monuments on the Lake District fells will be identified as
nationally important.

Town Bank prehistoric stone hut circles settlements, field systems, funerary
cairns, ring cairn and cairnfield survive well and form part of a large area
of well-preserved prehistoric settlements which extend over Town Bank and
Stockdale Moor. The monument contains a complex and diverse group of
prehistoric monument classes and together these represent evidence of long
term management and exploitation of this area in prehistoric times. It will
contribute greatly to any further study of prehistoric settlement patterns
within the Lake District.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 40-54
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 40-54
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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