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Prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, irregular aggregate field system,five enclosures,a well,a cairnfield and trackways on St John's and Threlkeld Commons

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: Prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, irregular aggregate field system,five enclosures,a well,a cairnfield and trackways on St John's and Threlkeld Commons

List entry Number: 1013383

Location

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

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale

District Type: District Authority

Parish: St. John's Castlerigg and Wythburn

County: Cumbria

District: Eden

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Threlkeld

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 17-May-1978

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Aug-1995

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 23791

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

Stone hut circles and hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. Most date from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone- based round-houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; the remains of the turf, thatch or heather roofs are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth or stone. Frequently traces of their associated field systems may be found immediately around them. These may be indicated by areas of clearance cairns and/or the remains of field walls and other enclosures. The longevity of use of hut circle settlements and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Irregular aggregate field systems are one of several methods of field layout known to have been employed from the Bronze Age to the Roman period (c.2000 BC - AD 400). They comprise a collection of field plots, generally lacking conformity of orientation and arrangement, containing fields of varying shapes and sizes, bounded by stone or rubble walls or banks, ditches or fences. They are an important element of the existing landscape and are representative of farming practices over a long period. Within the upland landscape of Cumbria there are many discrete plots of land, or enclosures, enclosed by stone walls or banks of stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze Age. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing. 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. Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one another. They often consist of clearance cairns, built with stone cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture. However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials. They were constructed from Neolithic times (from c.3400 BC), although the majority appear to be the result of field clearance which began during the Bronze Age. Cairnfields provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural practices. They also retain information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period. The prehistoric stone hut circle settlement and its associated irregular aggregate field system, enclosures, well, trackways and cairnfield survive well. Apart from limited antiquarian investigation, the destruction of a small number of cairns by quarrying and the construction of some modern field boundaries, the monument remains unencumbered by modern development. It contains one of the most complex and diverse groups of prehistoric monument classes to be found on the Cumbrian fells. Together these monuments represent evidence of long term management and exploitation of the landscape and indicate the importance of this area in prehistoric times and the diversity of monument classes to be found here.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a prehistoric stone hut circle settlement within which are seven hut circles and a well; an associated irregular aggregate field system, five enclosures, a cairnfield and two trackways. It is located on a north facing slope of fellside immediately above Threlkeld Granite Quarry, and extends over parts of St John's and Threlkeld Commons. The prehistoric hut circle settlement consists of the drystone wall foundations of six small sub-rectangular enclosures, the northern three of which are very distinct. The western and central of these three northern enclosures contain partly mutilated hut circles whilst in addition the central enclosure also has a well preserved hut circle adjacent to its entrance. The southern of the three enclosures that form the hut circle settlement is more irregular in shape than its northern counterparts. There is a hut circle immediately adjacent to the most southerly of these irregular enclosures and two further hut circles can be seen immediately to the east, one of which has an entrance which opens into a courtyard enclosed by low walls. A trackway enters the western of the three southern enclosures and continues through the adjacent enclosure, passing in front of a well, before continuing in a south easterly direction through part of the field system. To the north and east of the stone hut circle settlement there is an extensive irregular aggregate field system consisting of lengths of turf covered drystone wall banks and field boundaries. Within this field system there are five distinct enclosures which are thought to have been used as stock pens. The largest is located immediately south east of the hut circle settlement and measures c.40m by 25m. The other enclosures are considerably smaller; one lies a short distance north east of the settlement, two are situated adjacent to each other c.200m east of the settlement, and one lies approximately 260m north east of the settlement. A second trackway runs along the northern edge of the settlement and continues along the northern edge of the largest enclosure within the field system. On the lower ground to the north and north east of the settlement, and at the edges of the field system, there is a cairnfield which includes about 50 cairns measuring between 3m-8m in diameter and up to 0.6m high. These cairns are largely thought to represent field clearance as part of the preparation of the fellside for agriculture; however, limited antiquarian investigation of a small number of the cairns found charcoal which the excavator suggested indicates some of the cairns are funerary monuments containing burial after cremation. Limited antiquarian investigation also found traces of a hearth in one of the hut circles and a quern stone in another of the hut circles. All modern field boundaries and gateposts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath these features is included.

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

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Dymond, C W, Hodgson, T H, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in An Ancient Village Near Threlkeld, , Vol. II, (1902), 38-52
Dymond, C W, Hodgson, T H, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in An Ancient Village Near Threlkeld, , Vol. II, (1902), 38-52
Dymond, C W, Hodgson, T H, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in An Ancient Village Near Threlkeld, , Vol. II, (1902), 38-52
Dymond, C W, Hodgson, T H, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in An Ancient Village Near Threlkeld, , Vol. II, (1902), 38-52
Hay, T, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Threlkeld Settlement, , Vol. XLIII, (1943), 20-4
Hay, T, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Threlkeld Settlement, , Vol. XLIII, (1943), 20-4
Hay, T, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Threlkeld Settlement, , Vol. XLIII, (1943), 20-24
Other
Raymond,F., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Cairnfields, (1988)

National Grid Reference: NY 32875 24077

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2017 at 12:44:37.

End of official listing