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Regular aggregate field system on Troutsdale Moor, 950m south west of Rock House Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Snainton, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.2864 / 54°17'11"N

Longitude: -0.5933 / 0°35'35"W

OS Eastings: 491674.215234

OS Northings: 488777.860777

OS Grid: SE916887

Mapcode National: GBR SL9W.C6

Mapcode Global: WHGBX.VJP9

Entry Name: Regular aggregate field system on Troutsdale Moor, 950m south west of Rock House Farm

Scheduled Date: 16 October 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020840

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35448

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Snainton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Brompton-by-Sawdon All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York

Details

The monument includes a regular aggregate field system which is situated
on level ground at the top of a steep slope overlooking Troutsdale. It
lies on the central plateau of the Tabular Hills.

The field system is visible as a series of small sub-rectangular
enclosures, which are laid out roughly on two perpendicular axes, oriented
approximately north west to south east and north east to south west. At
least ten fields have been identified and these measure 30m-75m in length
and 20m-40m in width. The fields are defined by shallow ditches and low
earthen banks. The ditches are up to 1m wide and 0.5m deep and the banks
are up to 2m wide and 0.5m high, although many are much smaller than this.
The northern side of the field system is overlain by elements of a
post-medieval boundary system which appears on early editions of the
Ordnance Survey maps. This includes the south eastern side of an embanked
enclosure at the north western edge of the field system and along the
north eastern edge of the field system, a boundary bank which has
fragments of tumbled walling surviving at its extreme south eastern end,
where there is also a post-medieval boundary stone set into an adjacent
ditch. On the south western side of the field system there is a pond. Over
the years, the field system has become embedded in peat deposits which
have developed on the surface of the moor and this has resulted in the
earthworks being poorly defined in places and difficult to distinguish
amongst the vegetation, although they are clearly visible on aerial
photographs.

The field system lies close to another similar field system, the subject
of a separate scheduling, in an area which also includes many prehistoric
burial monuments as well as further remains of prehistoric land division.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the
end of the fifth century AD. They usually cover areas of up to 100ha and
comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction,
with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one
another. Individual fields generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can
be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The
field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls or reaves,
orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and
lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to
most systems include entrances and trackways, and the settlements or
farmsteads from which people utilised the fields over the years have been
identified in some cases. These are usually situated close to or within the
field system.
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, evidenced by the common
occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation
may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. Regular aggregate
field systems occur widely and have been recorded in south western and south
eastern England, East Anglia, Cheshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, North and
South Yorkshire and Durham. 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/or which can be positively linked to
associated settlements are considered to merit protection.

Although some of the earthwork boundaries are not visible, the field
system on Troutsdale Moor, 950m south west of Rock House Farm, is in a
good state of preservation. Significant information about the form and
development of the field layout will survive. Valuable evidence for the
type of agriculture practised and the contemporary environment and economy
will survive in the lower ditch fills. Evidence for earlier land use will
also survive beneath the field banks. The field system is embedded in peat
deposits with some areas which are waterlogged and so it will contain a
wider range of environmental evidence than can be found on drier sites.

The field system is among only a very few such monuments on the eastern
Tabular Hills to survive with upstanding earthworks and it will,
therefore, preserve a range of evidence which the many plough-flattened
examples have now lost. It lies close to another field system and a number
of prehistoric burial monuments. Associated groups of monuments such as
these offer important scope for the study of the distribution of human
activity across the landscape during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
3543,
Meridian vertical AP. Run 70 110/72 089-092, (1972)

Source: Historic England

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