Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Two cairns on Beeley Moor, east of Hell Bank Plantation

A Scheduled Monument in Beeley, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2103 / 53°12'37"N

Longitude: -1.5676 / 1°34'3"W

OS Eastings: 428973.073889

OS Northings: 368223.167657

OS Grid: SK289682

Mapcode National: GBR 57Y.LJ8

Mapcode Global: WHCD8.WKPS

Entry Name: Two cairns on Beeley Moor, east of Hell Bank Plantation

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019484

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31281

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Beeley

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Beeley St Anne

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes two adjacent prehistoric round cairns, one with a
carefully constructed kerb of large boulders.

The cairns comprise mounds of stones and turf, one measuring approximately 3m
in diameter, the other 7m by 5.5m. The smaller cairn takes the form of a
uniform mound of weathered stones, now covered with an accumulation of peat
and turf. The visible remains are circular in plan but much more of the
structure will survive below ground. The other cairn stands approximately 30m
to the north of the latter. It is a larger but low mound with a flat top, a
form similar to a small number of other examples of funerary cairns in the
region. Around the outside of the visible features is a ring of upright
boulders forming a regular kerb to the monument. Although there is some
visible stone in the interior of the mound, it does not appear to have been
disturbed, nor indeed does the smaller cairn to the south.

The larger cairn is certainly funerary in function, given its complex
structure, size and prominent position on the ridge. The smaller cairn
could be associated with prehistoric agricultural clearance although the close
proximity of the other monument indicates that it, too, is likely to be a
funerary structure. Both cairns date to the Bronze Age and are evidence of
prehistoric settlement of the moorlands.

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 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 as 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.

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or
multiple burials. These burials were placed within the mound in stone-lined
compartments called cists. Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a
major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in
form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the
diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst prehistoric communities.

The two cairns on Beeley Moor, east of Hell Bank Plantation, are particularly
important as rare examples of undisturbed monuments of this type. They lie
close to other comparative burial monuments. Together these sites provide an
insight into prehistoric use of this moorland.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 134
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 134

Source: Historic England

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