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Sheepwash Bank and Dennis Knoll prehistoric settlement and field system

A Scheduled Monument in Hathersage, Derbyshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.3534 / 53°21'12"N

Longitude: -1.6567 / 1°39'24"W

OS Eastings: 422946.924944

OS Northings: 384114.098452

OS Grid: SK229841

Mapcode National: GBR JYWN.3M

Mapcode Global: WHCCG.JZ92

Entry Name: Sheepwash Bank and Dennis Knoll prehistoric settlement and field system

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1997

Last Amended: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020171

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29794

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Hathersage

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Hathersage St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Derby

Details

The monument includes numerous features indicating Bronze Age settlement and
agricultural activity. These features include a series of clearance cairns,
linear clearance banks demarcating a system of small fields, random
peripheral clearance and ring bank earthworks. In addition, there are more
recent landscape features, including several hollow ways, minor quarrying and
stone-getting, and a makeshift dew pond.
The remains occupy two almost level gritstone spurs which project south from
the level ground below Stanage Edge at the south east end of Bamford Moor.
The plateau area of Sheepwash Bank contains over 20 sub-circular clearance
cairns. They are distributed fairly evenly over the area which is notably
stone free. The cairns are of various sizes but two are much larger than the
others and occupy prominent positions overlooking land to the south. The
southern large cairn has been robbed of some stone. Both of these large
cairns may have been used as burial mounds.
Stone clearance is also evident in the form of linear clearance banks which
occupy much of the plateau but are especially concentrated in the northern
half of the area. The surviving clearance banks comprise small and medium
stones and are largely turf covered. They are well-preserved and form a
roughly rectilinear pattern of small fields. There are two circular ring bank
earthworks which may be hut sites occupying relatively sheltered sites. One
occupies a position on the main ridge of Sheepwash Bank and is approximately
11m in diameter. It lies within a field enclosure which is likely to be
contemporary with it. The other possible hut site occupies ground between the
field systems on Sheepwash Bank and Dennis Knoll. It is now faint, but a
regular, circular ring bank with a possible entrance on its southern side is
13m in diameter. It is located on a platform which may be artificial. More
recent features include several braids of a hollow way running across the
northern part of the spur, from west to east. One branch of the hollow way
passes close to one of the hut sites and ascends the spur of Dennis Knoll,
passing through the field system there. The hollow way is of uncertain date,
but may have made use of a prehistoric trackway.
Although the area has seen little human activity since the Bronze Age, there
are several instances of minor quarrying and stone getting. The quarries are
located around the edge of the plateau, to the north, east and south. Each
quarry shows evidence for the sort of small scale activity normally
associated with wall building. The quarries probably date to the late 18th or
early 19th century when the post-medieval enclosure walls in the area were
constructed.
The prehistoric remains on Dennis Knoll include a length of linear clearance
bank which stretches from the northern end of the field system on Sheepwash
Bank and terminates close to the clearance features on Dennis Knoll. This bank
indicates that the two field systems were linked and probably contemporary. It
runs, in part, through a plantation of trees at the northern end of the Knoll.
Several small clearance cairns also survive in this plantation. On the
southern end of Dennis Knoll are further clearance cairns of varying size,
bringing the total number of cairns on the whole of the Knoll to over 20. One
is larger than the others, about 10m in diameter and occupies a prominent
position. Like its counterparts on Sheepwash Bank this cairn may well contain
burial remains. There are also traces of linear clearance on the Knoll, but
these remains are less well preserved than those on Sheepwash Bank. A hollow
way extends south westwards onto the spur of Dennis Knoll from Sheepwash Bank
and passes through the clearance features. At its most south westerly point
this hollow way joins with another running north west to the south east.
Another hollow way crosses the plantation area and then runs across the
southern part of the spur where it splits into several braids. There is also
evidence of minor stone quarrying for wall building around the edge of Dennis
Knoll.
Excluded from the scheduling are all modern field walls, fences, signposts,
information boards and stiles, although the ground beneath these features is
included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

Sheepwash Bank and Dennis Knoll prehistoric settlement and field system
represent one of the most important single-period prehistoric sites on the
Millstone Grit East Moors of the Peak District of Derbyshire. The remains are
in a particularly good state of preservation. Although there are many Bronze
Age remains in this area, the site is of special importance due to the
diversity of features relating to settlement and agriculture during this
prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 18-100
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983)
Other
RCHME, Settlement and Field System, Dennis Knoll, Outseats, Derbys., (1987)
RCHME, Settlement and Field System, Dennis Knoll, Outseats, Derbys., (1987)
RCHME, Settlement and Field System, Dennis Knoll, Outseats, Derbys., (1987)
RCHME, Settlement and Field System, Dennis Knoll, Outseats, Derbys., (1987)

Source: Historic England

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