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Stockdale Moor prehistoric cairnfields, field systems, unenclosed cairn cemetery, ring cairns and funerary cairns

A Scheduled Monument in Gosforth, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.4616 / 54°27'41"N

Longitude: -3.3907 / 3°23'26"W

OS Eastings: 309950.773442

OS Northings: 508246.052545

OS Grid: NY099082

Mapcode National: GBR 4JRV.QF

Mapcode Global: WH70V.W4K0

Entry Name: Stockdale Moor prehistoric cairnfields, field systems, unenclosed cairn cemetery, ring cairns and funerary cairns

Scheduled Date: 2 March 1962

Last Amended: 2 December 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018503

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27826

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Gosforth

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Details

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of six prehistoric
stone clearance cairnfields of various sizes, four field systems, three of
which are located within separate cairnfields, a small unenclosed cairn
cemetery, and numerous other funerary monuments scattered within the
cairnfields, including 15 funerary cairns and eight ring cairns. It is located
on Stockdale Moor, an expansive area of undulating unenclosed moorland between
the River Bleng and Worm Gill, and represents evidence for the prehistoric
exploitation of this landscape.
At the eastern edge of the monument at NY10850833 there is a `Y'-shaped
arrangement of stone banking known as Aaron's Apron. Gaps in the banking
similar to entrances together with a stone cairn incorporated within the bank
suggest that this feature formed part of a prehistoric field system, parts of
which have been identified elsewhere within the cairnfields.
The northern cairnfield lies some 850m NNW of Sampson's Bratfull, the largest
funerary cairn on Stockdale Moor, and is centred at approximately NY09680887.
It consists of a cluster of upwards of 30 clearance cairns amongst which are a
group of seven which, by their larger size and better definition, are
interpreted as funerary cairns forming an unenclosed cairn cemetery. A short
distance to the north west of this cairnfield there is evidence for the
remains of a prehistoric field system in the form of an alignment of six
clearance-type cairns running across the moor for about 270m; these cairns are
interpreted as representing the line of a field boundary in which sporadic
patches of stone clearance were piled against a fence or hedge. Between this
field boundary and the cairnfield there is a double ring cairn consisting of
two ring cairns lying side by side. This feature is paralleled on the north
western side of the field boundary where there is also a round funerary cairn.
Some 470m NNE of Sampson's Bratfull, centred at approximately NY09960850,
there is a second cairnfield; this cairnfield displays evidence of more than
one period of stone clearance. In general the cairns at the north west end of
this cairnfield are larger, better defined and more widely spaced than the
cairns in the centre of the cairnfield. The cairns at the southern end of the
cairnfield are located on a ridge and are slightly isolated from the rest of
the cairns by a sharp break of slope. Short lengths of stone banking within
the cairnfield are considered to be another manifestation of stone clearance.
Some 400m north west of Sampson's Bratfull, centred at approximately
NY09500825, there is a third cairnfield consisting of small concentrations of
clearance cairns totalling about 100 in number which partially surround a
predominantly open area interpreted as a contemporary field. At the southern
end of the cairnfield there is a ring cairn and at the northern end there is
another ring cairn which is situated close to a cluster of three funerary
cairns with a fourth lying a short distance to the SSE. The field boundary is
represented by three short sections of stone bank between which is an
alignment of eight cairns. Just outside the north eastern side of the field
there is a ring cairn and two funerary cairns.
The fourth and most complex cairnfield lies immediately to the south east of
Sampson's Bratfull and is centred at approximately NY09950780. It consists of
concentrations of clearance cairns totalling about 250 in number which lie on
all but the southern side of two large fields, the western of which has
boundaries formed by stone banks and the eastern of which has boundaries
formed by a combination of stone banks and a cairn alignment. The western
field has few cairns within it but does contain a natural gully, an abundance
of surface stone, and is generally considered to be unsuitable for
cultivation. The eastern field, however, although containing a moderate
concentration of cairns, has well drained land with a uniform and moderate
slope which is considered to be acceptable agricultural land; thus the
difference between the two fields suggests that they were used for differing
agricultural purposes. An area largely but not wholly devoid of cairns lying
immediately to the south west of the western field may indicate the site of a
third field while a smaller fourth field may be represented by alignments of
short lengths of stone bank a short distance to the west. Amongst the
clearance cairns forming the cairnfield are three ring cairns, one of which
has alternatively been suggested to be a hut circle, and four funerary cairns,
one of which, to the south of the two fields, is one of the largest on the
moor. This cairn, although disturbed since originally constructed, has short
stone banks emerging from the body of the cairn and as such is similar to the
`star-fish' funerary cairns found on Askham Fell in the north east of the Lake
District. The two remaining cairnfields are small but sufficiently different
from each other as to indicate that they belong to distinct cairnfields. The
largest is located some 600m north east of Sampson's Bratfull, is centred at
approximately NY10370830, and consists of 25 largely peat-covered cairns. By
contrast the smaller cairnfield, located some 500m north east of Sampson's
Bratfull and centred at approximately NY10300820, consists of 14 cairns, none
of which have much peat cover. This suggests that they were created at
different times during the prehistoric period.
To the west of this latter cairnfield, and aligned along the highest and most
prominent part of the moor, are three large funerary cairns, two of which have
been disturbed by unrecorded antiquarian investigation. They vary between
8m-14m in diameter and up to 1.9m high and have been deliberately located so
as to be visible from a wide area.
The largest funerary cairn on Stockdale Moor is Sampson's Bratfull. It
measures 25m by 13.5m and up to 1.7m high and is located at NY09840805 on
poorly drained ground in a slight hollow close to the head of a stream.
Unrecorded antiquarian investigations and an unrecorded investigation during
the 1950s have left a number of depressions in the cairn and a stone spoil
heap on the cairn's south western side.
The prehistoric remains on Stockdale Moor reflect occupation of the landscape
over a long period. The larger funerary cairns in particular have forms
similar to excavated funerary cairns dated to the Neolithic or early Bronze
Age (about 3000-1500 BC). The ring cairns and smaller funerary cairns
scattered amongst the cairnfields are considered from comparison with dated
examples elsewhere to be dated approximately to the second millennium BC.
Although the remains here attest to considerable prehistoric agricultural
activity, only one possible habitation structure has been tentatively
suggested. This may be an indication that other dwelling structures were of a
non-permanent nature and have not survived as surface evidence.

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.

Stockdale Moor prehistoric cairnfields, field systems, unenclosed cairn
cemetery, ring cairns and funerary cairns survive well and form part of a
large area of well-preserved prehistoric settlements, cairnfields and field
systems 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, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Stockdale Moor Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 1-9
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 1-9
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 1-9
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 1-9
Quartermaine, J A, Leech, R, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1977), 1-9
Quartermaine, J A, Leech, R, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1987), 1-9
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 1-9
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 1-9
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 1-9

Source: Historic England

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