This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Cairnfield including a prehistoric enclosure, 5 stone circles, 10 funerary cairns, 6 stone banks, 2 stone walls, a lynchet and a trackway on Burnmoor

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Cairnfield including a prehistoric enclosure, 5 stone circles, 10 funerary cairns, 6 stone banks, 2 stone walls, a lynchet and a trackway on Burnmoor

List entry Number: 1008539

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Copeland

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Eskdale

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 03-Mar-1922

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Aug-1994

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 23700

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture, and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC), although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size, content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period.

Within the upland landscape of Cumbria there are many discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to accommodate stock and hut circle dwellings for farmers and herdsmen. Their size and form may therefore vary depending upon their function. Their variation in form, longevity and relation to other monument classes provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. As such a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of upright or recumbent stones. The circle of stones may be surrounded by earthwork features such as enclosing banks and ditches. Single upright stones may be found within the circle or outside it and avenues of stones radiating out from the circle occur at some sites. Where excavated they have been found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2000-1240 BC). It is clear that they were carefully designed and laid out, frequently exhibiting very regularly spaced stones, the heights of which also appear to have been of some importance. We do not fully understand the uses for which these monuments were constructed but it is clear that they had considerable ritual importance for the societies that used them. In many instances excavation has indicated that they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied the interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function, helping mark the passage of time and seasons, this being indicated by the careful alignment of stones to mark important solar or lunar events. At other sites the spacing of individual circles throughout the landscape has led to the suggestion that each one provided some form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation. The complex of prehistoric remains around the Brat's Moss area survives well. It contains a developed cairnfield; that is one where the land has been subjected to initial clearance then utilised further - in this case by the construction of the most complex and diverse group of prehistoric monument classes to be found on Burnmoor. These include a prehistoric enclosure, five stone circles each containing funerary cairns, a number of stone banks and stone walls separating sub-groups of cairns within the main cairnfield, a short length of trackway, and a lynchet. Together these individual monuments represent evidence of long term management and exploitation of the Bronze Age landscape on Burnmoor and indicate the importance of this area in prehistoric times.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a large cairnfield located around the Brat's Moss area of Burnmoor at the western side of a large area of open moorland which contains an abundance of prehistoric remains. Within the cairnfield are a considerable number of other monuments including a prehistoric enclosure, five stone circles each containing funerary cairns, six stone banks, two stone walls, a lynchet, and a short length of trackway. The cairnfield contains approximately 403 cairns. Some are round in shape and range in diameter between 1.35m - 6.9m in diameter and 0.1m - 0.65m high, some are oval in shape and range between 2.9m long by 1.6m wide and 10.25m long by 3.9m wide and 0.1m - 0.9m high. Of the five stone circles Brat's Hill is the largest with approximately 42 stones forming an irregular circle with an average diameter of 30.4m. There are five funerary cairns within the circle together with two further stones. There is an outlying stone a short distance to the north west of the circle. To the north west of Brat's Hill stone circle lie White Moss North East and White Moss South West stone circles; the former measures 16.2m in diameter and has 11 stones forming the circle and a funerary cairn at the centre, the latter measures 16.6m in diameter and has 14 stones forming the circle and a funerary cairn at the centre. To the south and east of the White Moss stone circles there is a long dog-legged length of stone bank beyond which is a sub-rectangular prehistoric enclosure measuring a maximum of approximately 50m by 30m internally. Immediately to the east of this enclosure is a short stone wall adjacent to which is a short length of trackway defined by two non-parallel banks and aligned north west - south east. Within the northern part of the cairnfield are two more stone circles, Low Longrigg North East and Low Longrigg South West. The former measures 21.7m by 20.4m, has 15 stones forming an irregular circle, and contains two funerary cairns. The latter measures 15.2m in diameter, has nine stones forming the circle, and contains a funerary cairn at the centre. To the south west of the Low Longrigg stone circles, beyond a modern Y-shaped sheep bield, are two lengths of stone bank aligned approximately south west - north east which separate two sub-groups of cairns within the main cairnfield. Similarly to the east of the Low Longrigg stone circles there is a low stone wall aligned north west - south east which also separates sub-groups of cairns. At the north eastern side of the cairnfield complex there are three roughly parallel stone banks to the south of a small sub-group of cairns. These banks are aligned with the contours and may have functioned as lynchets. There is another lynchet located to the south of Brat's Hill 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 18
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 18
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 20
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 23
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 31
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 32
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 32
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 33
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 37
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 14-46
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 30
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 20
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 21
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 30
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 30
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 33
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 33
Thom, A, Megalithic Sites in Britain, (1967), 52-3
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 60-1
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 56-7
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 55-6
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 56-61
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 59, 61
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 55-6
Other
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Large Irregular Stone Circles, (1990)
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Small Stone Circles, (1990)
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Small Stone Circles, (1990)
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Bowl Barrows, (1989)
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Bowl Barrows, (1989)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions- Bowl Barrows, (1989)
Raymond,F., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Cairnfields, (1987)
Site no. 292-6; SMR No 3039, Clare, T, Stone Circles on Burnmoor, near Boot, (1973)
Site No. 292-6; SMR No 3039, Clare, T, The Stone Circles on Burnmoor, Near Boot, (1973)
Site No. 292-6; SMR No 3039, Clare, T, The Stone Circles on Burnmoor, Near Boot, (1973)

National Grid Reference: NY 17389 02580

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1008539 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 20-Nov-2017 at 08:00:43.

End of official listing