Cratcliff Rocks defended settlement


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008006

Date first listed: 17-Jul-1985

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Oct-1993


Ordnance survey map of Cratcliff Rocks defended settlement
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)

Parish: Harthill

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 22583 62381

Reasons for Designation

During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate), others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD). Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national importance.

Cratcliff Rocks defended settlement is well-preserved and is unusual in the use of natural rock outcrops in place of an earth rampart. These natural defences may have been augmented by a timber palisade. It lies within an area rich in prehistoric monuments, including a second defended settlement, and will contribute to any study of settlement and land use in this area at this time.


Cratcliff Rocks is an extensive outcrop on the edge of Harthill Moor in the eastern gritstone moors of Derbyshire. The monument lies within the rocks on the western edge of the outcrop and is a roughly circular enclosure comprising a 5m wide rock-cut ditch surrounding an area of c.0.25 hectares. Boulders enclosed by the ditch form an additional natural boundary and a number of building platforms have been identified within the enclosure. No excavation of the site has been carried out but it forms part of a rich prehistoric landscape on Harthill Moor which includes burial mounds, a second enclosure and Nine Stones Close stone circle.

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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 23243

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hart, CR, North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey, (1984), 77
Heathcote, J P, Birchover, (1947), 33

End of official listing