Neolithic enclosures at Grey's Farm, Horseley Fen


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009993

Date first listed: 15-Dec-1994


Ordnance survey map of Neolithic enclosures at Grey's Farm, Horseley Fen
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This copy shows the entry on 13-Nov-2018 at 17:49:35.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cambridgeshire

District: Fenland (District Authority)

Parish: Chatteris

National Grid Reference: TL 41158 83267


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

Reasons for Designation

Very few large, rectilinear enclosures of demonstrable Neolithic date have been recorded or investigated in England. The purposes for which such enclosures were constructed and used probably varied, but may have included stock management as well as domestic occupation, ceremonial activity and possibly defence. Because of their extreme rarity and great age, all such enclosures with surviving earthworks along with those which retain sub-surface remains of good quality are considered to be nationally important.

The Neolithic enclosures at Grey's Farm survive well and, in that parts of the earthworks remain visible, are unique of their kind in eastern England. The monument will retain rare archaeological information concerning the construction and use of the enclosures, and evidence of domestic activity and farming, as well as of the local environment at the time, will be contained in deposits in the ditches and in features beneath the turf and ploughsoil in the interior of the enclosures. The proximity of the enclosures to other features known to be of Neolithic and Bronze Age date, adds further interest.


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


The monument includes parts of three contiguous Neolithic enclosures, defined by interconnecting ditches. It is located on a terrace of clayey gravel which was above the peat fen during the earlier prehistoric period, but buried beneath it by the first millennium BC. Two of the enclosures are situated c.130m apart, with the third enclosure partly defined between them. The ditch around the eastern side of the largest, western enclosure is also accompanied by the remains of an internal bank. The southern part of the ditch on the east side of the western enclosure remains visible as an earthwork under pasture. Elsewhere the ditches have become completely infilled, but survive as buried features which have been traced by soil and crop marks, visible on the ground and from the air.

The western enclosure measures at least 290m south east - north west. The ditch along the eastern side runs SSW - NNE for a distance of c.280m, turning westward to form a gently curving northern boundary which is distinct for a distance of c.160m. Sampling of the ditch on the east side has demonstrated that it is up to 1.5m deep, with infill deposits to a depth of up to 1.35m, and that along the bottom there is a slot which held a palisade. The southern end is visible for a distance of c.150m as a linear hollow, c.0.25m deep and 3m wide in the ground surface. The slight spread remains of a bank c.7.5m wide run around the inner edge of the ditch. In the angle between the eastern and northern ditches is an internal rectangular, ditched enclosure measuring c.150m north-south by c.75m east-west. Above this and to the west of it, evidence of Neolithic occupation has been found, including fragments of pottery, flint implements, bone and burnt stone.

The second principal enclosure, to the east, is roughly rectangular and has dimensions of c.85m by at least 230m, aligned north-south. A slightly curving east-west ditch connects the eastern ditch of the first enclosure and the western ditch of the second so as to form the northern boundary of the third.

The enclosures are the most prominent of a series of features, some of them ceremonial in character, which have been revealed by crop marks within an area of c.68ha and are dated by their context to the Neolithic or Bronze Age periods.

All boundary fences within or bordering the area of the scheduling are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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


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

Legacy System number: 20805

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hall, D N, Palmer, R, Fenland Evaluation Project: Cambridgeshire, (1990)
Leah, M, Mathews, M, Fenland Evaluation Project: Norfolk, (1990)
Hall, D, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in The Fenland Project No.6: The South-western Cambridgeshire Fens, , Vol. 56, (1992), 84
CUCAP RC8-EC 236-237,
RCHME TL4083/2/76-77, TL4183/1/190-191, /3/3/269-272, /6/100-102,

End of official listing