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Medieval field system and long houses at Lawrence Field

A Scheduled Monument in Grindleford, Derbyshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.3123 / 53°18'44"N

Longitude: -1.6233 / 1°37'24"W

OS Eastings: 425191.977325

OS Northings: 379546.117671

OS Grid: SK251795

Mapcode National: GBR KZ34.BC

Mapcode Global: WHCCW.108L

Entry Name: Medieval field system and long houses at Lawrence Field

Scheduled Date: 16 April 1935

Last Amended: 8 September 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021041

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29793

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Grindleford

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Details

The monument includes a large ovoid enclosure which has a perimeter
boundary constructed from upright stones and drystone walling. Within the
enclosure are linear clearance banks and cairns indicating that the area
was used as a field system. There are also two long houses incorporated
within the south eastern end of the field system. The field system and
houses are medieval and indicate early settlement on this area of
moorland.

The enclosed field system is oval in shape with its longer axis oriented
south west to north east. It is approximately 350m by 190m in size. The
walls are fragmentary and incomplete in places, but despite this the full
extent of the field system can be identified. Surviving lengths of wall
are visible as turf covered banks of stone between 0.4m and 0.6m in
height. An external ditch runs parallel to the main wall on the northern
side of the enclosure. Possible entrances into the enclosure lie on its
northern and western side.

The interior of the enclosure contains 15 or more lines of cleared stones,
some including cairns. They are similar distances apart, suggesting that
the interior was divided into cultivation strips between 5m and 10m apart.
There are also several individual cairns within the cleared strips.

The two long houses lie within the south eastern corner of the field
system. The large house is ovoid in shape and measures 13m by 6m. Its drystone
walls stand to a height of 0.7m and are about 0.65m thick. Two almost opposing
gaps in the walling located in the long sides of the building are likely to be
original entrances. There is some evidence of post-medieval excavation at
the south eastern end of the house. The smaller long house measures 10m by
4.5m. Its walls stand to a height of 0.45m and are 0.5m wide.

Excavation of the site produced several sherds of 11th or 12th century
pottery together with part of a flat quern stone and some partially
smelted lead ore. The field system has been described as a medieval
assart, a newly established settlement and field system on the moor.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
The High Peak local region uplands bear traces of pre-medieval occupation, but
the barren plateaux surfaces are now virtually uninhabited. Dark gritstone
farmhouses were built in sheltered hollows, while deserted and derelict
habitation sites witness the harsh conditions in these sheep grazing lands, or
mark moribund industrial ventures. Of medieval settlements only a few
dispersed homestead sites have so far been recognised.

In the medieval period many areas of the country supported a pattern of
dispersed rather than nucleated settlement. Small hamlets or individual
farms were spread across the countryside; their distribution often
reflecting the pattern of land suitable for agriculture. In some areas
this dispersed settlement pattern reflected `pioneer' activity as land was
first claimed for agriculture. Evidence for such settlements takes a
variety of forms. Earthworks may indicate platforms in which houses and
other buildings stood or may indicate the buildings themselves. Roads and
trackways and enclosed crofts and paddocks may also be identifiable.
Dispersed settlements provide an important insight into medieval rural
life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest.

Dispersed settlements were supported by agricultural exploitation of
adjacent land. Fields were defined, often by stone walls, with land within
them being cleared of stone to improve their use for arable cultivation or
animal pasturage. Traces of these field systems are often preserved as
earthwork features.

The medieval field system and long houses at Lawrence Field are well-
preserved. They are an important survival of land first claimed for
settlement and agriculture during the medieval period in the Peak District
uplands.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Barnatt, J, Greenwood Farm, Hathersage, Derbyshire, Arch. Survey 1993, (1993), 3
Barnatt, J, Greenwood Farm, Hathersage, Derbyshire, Arch. Survey 1993, (1993), 3
Hart, CR, North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500, (1981), 132
Cole, W M, 'Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society' in The Longshaw Earthworks, (1937), 362
Cole, W M, 'Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society' in The Longshaw Earthworks, (1937), 362

Source: Historic England

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