Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield and field system 530m south of Dalebrook House

A Scheduled Monument in Brampton, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2354 / 53°14'7"N

Longitude: -1.563 / 1°33'46"W

OS Eastings: 429267.438048

OS Northings: 371015.054952

OS Grid: SK292710

Mapcode National: GBR 57R.1PS

Mapcode Global: WHCD2.YYX2

Entry Name: Cairnfield and field system 530m south of Dalebrook House

Scheduled Date: 11 February 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018998

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31268

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Brampton

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Old Brampton Saints Peter and Paul

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes a group of prehistoric cairns occupying a bluff of
moorland together with associated field banks of linear clearance forming a
discrete prehistoric field system.

The cairnfield and linear field banks occupy a bluff of well drained moorland
to the east of an extensive area of Bronze Age settlement on Gibbet Moor,
the subject of a separate scheduling. The cairnfield was part of the overall
pattern of settlement and related activities on the moor, but is separated
from other remains by areas of boggy and stony ground. There are approximately
12 cairns standing within an area of stone cleared ground, once forming a
discrete area of cultivated land. Most of the cairns appear to have survived
intact. They are of varying sizes, the largest being about 4.5m by 6m ranging
to smaller examples of approximately 2m in diameter. The cairns are the result
of prehistoric land clearance to form suitable ground for cultivation.

Associated with the clearance cairns are several lengths of linear clearance
indicating that the area was divided into field plots used for cultivation.
Such clearance gradually formed field banks from debris systematically removed
from the plots and thrown alongside field hedges or fences. In this example,
the linear field banks survive in good condition, are substantial, and form a
well-preserved example of a prehistoric field system dating to the Bronze Age.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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.

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one
another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone
cleared from the surrounding land surface to improve its use for agriculture
and on occasions their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
Occasionally, some of the cairns were used for funerary purposes although
without excavation it is difficult to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3,400 BC)
although the majority date from the Bronze Age (2,000-700 BC). Cairnfields can
also retain information concerning the development of land use and
agricultural practices as well as the diversity of beliefs and social
organisation during the prehistoric period.

Linear field systems date from the Bronze Age to the fifth century AD. They
usually comprise a discrete block of fields oriented in roughly the same
direction. Individual fields can be square, rectangular, long and narrow,
triangular or polygonal in shape. The development of field systems is seen as
a response to the competition for land which began during the later
prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for
crop production. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for
long periods of time and can thus provide important information about
developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader
patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries.
Those which survive well and can be linked to associated settlements are
considered worthy of protection.

The cairnfield and field system 530 metres south of Dalebrook House survives
well and provides an insight into Bronze Age agricultural use of this

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 86
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 86

Source: Historic England

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