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Little Grassoms prehistoric field system, two cairnfields and six funerary cairns on Bootle Fell

A Scheduled Monument in Bootle, Cumbria

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.2854 / 54°17'7"N

Longitude: -3.325 / 3°19'29"W

OS Eastings: 313839.795488

OS Northings: 488558.490966

OS Grid: SD138885

Mapcode National: GBR 5L6W.YL

Mapcode Global: WH71N.WKV3

Entry Name: Little Grassoms prehistoric field system, two cairnfields and six funerary cairns on Bootle Fell

Scheduled Date: 23 May 1962

Last Amended: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019077

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32831

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Bootle

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Bootle St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Little Grassoms
prehistoric field system, two cairnfields and six funerary cairns. It is
located on moorland either side of an unnamed tributory of Grassoms Beck, on a
moderately graded natural spur formed by the confluence of Grassoms Beck and
Crookley Beck on the west facing slopes of Bootle Fell, and represents
evidence for the prehistoric exploitation of this landscape.
The prehistoric field system is centred at about SD13828858 and includes five
parallel alignments of clearance cairns and stone banks running east-west down
the hillslope. These alignments functioned as boundaries defining fields
10m-30m in width and approximately 70m-150m in length. The area within the
fields has been deliberately cleared of surface stone in order to facilitate
unhindered use of the plough during agricultural cultivation. The larger of
the two cairnfields lies either side of this field system; downhill there are
eight clearance cairns and a few short lengths of stone bank whilst uphill
there are about 40 clearance cairns. Also situated within the cairnfield are
four funerary cairns, three of which lie downhill of the field system with one
situated uphill. Of the group on the downhill side the largest is located at
SD13718862 and measures 14.2m in diameter and up to 1m high with a stone kerb
along its eastern edge. Slightly lower down the hill at SD13668856 is an
oval shaped funerary cairn measuring 10.5m by 8.5m and 0.6m high with traces
of a stone kerb on one side. Unrecorded investigation of this cairn's centre
has left exposed the remains of a stone cist within which the body of the
deceased would have been placed. A short distance downslope lies the smallest
of this group of three funerary cairns; it is oval shaped and measures 7m by
6.5m and 0.35m high. The funerary cairn on the uphill side of the field system
is located at SD13938859, possesses a stone kerb, and measures 7.5m in
diameter and 0.35m high. On the southern side of the tributory of Grassoms
Beck is the smaller of the two cairnfields. It contains only six clearance
cairns amongst which are two funerary cairns, the largest of which is located
at SD13828844 and measures 6.6m in diameter and 0.35m high while the smaller
is immediately adjacent and measures about 5.3m in diameter and 0.3m high.
The prehistoric remains at Little Grassoms reflect either sporadic or
transient occupation over a long period. The funerary cairns have forms
similar to excavated funerary cairns dated both to the Neolithic or Early
Bronze Age (about 3000-1500 BC) and the Bronze Age (about 2000-700 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.

Little Grassoms prehistoric field system, cairnfields and funerary cairns
survives well and forms part of a large area of well-preserved prehistoric
landscape extending along the fellsides of south west Cumbria. 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.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Quartermaine, J, Bootle Fell Survey Catalogue, (1987)
Quartermaine, J, Bootle Fell Survey Catalogue, (1987)
Quartermaine, J, Bootle Fell Survey Catalogue, (1987)
Quartermaine, J, Bootle Fell Survey Catalogue, (1987)
Quartermaine, J, Bootle Fell Survey Catalogue, (1987)
Quartermaine, J, Bootle Fell Survey Catalogue, (1987)
Quartermaine, J, Bootle Fell Survey Catalogue, (1987)
Quartermaine, J, Bootle Fell Survey Catalogue, (1987)
Quartermaine, J, Bootle Fell Survey Catalogue, (1987)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 2-15
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 2-15

Source: Historic England

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