Cairnfield, including a standing stone, round barrow, round cairn, enclosed field and part of Cucket medieval deer park boundary, 360m north of Eden House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016962

Date first listed: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield, including a standing stone, round barrow, round cairn, enclosed field and part of Cucket medieval deer park boundary, 360m north of Eden House
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Hutton Mulgrave


National Grid Reference: NZ 82533 09068


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.

Standing stones are prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments with dates ranging from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age for the few excavated examples. They comprise single or paired upright orthostatic slabs, ranging from under 1m to over 6m high where still erect. They are often conspicuously sited and close to other contemporary monument classes. They can be accompanied by various features: many occur in or on the edges of round barrows, and where excavated, associated sub-surface features have included stone cists, stone settings, and various pits and hollows filled in with earth containing human bone, cremations, charcoal, flints and pottery. Similar deposits have been found in excavated sockets for standing stones, which range considerably in depth. Standing stones may have functioned as markers for routeways, territories, graves or meeting points, but their accompanying features show that they also had a ritual function and that they form one of several ritual monument classes of their period which often contain deposits of cremation and domestic debris as an integral part. No national survey of standing stones has been undertaken, and estimates range from 50 to 250 extant examples, widely distributed throughout England but with concentrations in Cornwall, the North York Moors, Cumbria, Derbyshire and the Cotswolds. Standing stones are important as nationally rare monuments, with a high longevity and demonstrating the diversity of ritual practices in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are about 10,000 surviving examples recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), ocurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. This cairnfield is in a good state of preservation. Significant information about its form and development will survive. Evidence for the nature of Bronze Age agriculture will be preserved between the cairns and within the enclosure, and evidence for earlier land use will be preserved beneath the cairns and enclosure bank. The relationships with the standing stone, round barrow and round burial cairn will provide evidence for the diversity and development of social and ritual practice during the Bronze Age. Despite limited disturbance, the round burial cairn has survived well. Significant information about its original form and the burials placed within it will be preserved. Evidence for earlier land use will also survive beneath the mound. Unlike many barrows in this area, the round barrow has not been excavated and has survived in a good state of preservation. The archaeological deposits survive intact and evidence for the date and original form of the barrow and the burials placed within it will be preserved. Evidence for earlier land use will survive beneath the barrow mound and within the buried ditch. The cairnfield is situated in an area which includes many prehistoric burial monuments. Associations such as this offer important scope for the study of the relationship between agricultural and ritual activity in the prehistoric period. Deer parks were areas of land, usually enclosed, set aside and equipped for the management and hunting of deer and other animals. They were generally located in open countryside on marginal land or adjacent to a manor house, castle or palace. They varied in size between 3ha and 1600ha and usually comprised a combination of woodland and grassland which provided a mixture of cover and grazing for deer. Parks could contain a number of features, including hunting lodges (often moated), a park keeper's house, rabbit warrens, fishponds and enclosures for game, and were usually surrounded by a park pale, a massive fenced or hedged bank often with an internal ditch. Although a small number of parks may have been established in the Anglo-Saxon period, it was the Norman aristocracy's taste for hunting that led to the majority being constructed. The peak period for the laying out of parks, between AD 1200 and 1350, coincided with a time of considerable prosperity amongst the nobility. From the 15th century onwards few parks were constructed and by the end of the 17th century, the deer park in its original form had largely disappeared. The original number of deer parks nationally is unknown but probably exceeded 3000. Many of these survive today, although often altered to a greater or lesser degree. They were established in virtually every county in England, but are most numerous in the West Midlands and Home Counties. Deer parks were a long-lived and widespread monument type. Today they serve to illustrate an important aspect of the activities of the medieval nobility and still exert a powerful influence on the pattern of the modern landscape. Where a deer park survives well and is well-documented or associated with other significant remains, its principal features are normally identified as nationally important. Cucket deer park is one of five deer parks associated with the de Mauley family. This section of pale is in excellent condition, surviving to near its full height. The old ground surface will survive beneath the bank of the pale, which will provide information on land-use in the area before the construction of the boundary. The bank will preserve information on its construction.


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


The monument includes a cairnfield, a standing stone, a round cairn, a round barrow, an enclosed field and a segment of the boundary of Cucket medieval deer park, situated on a gentle north west facing slope at the north edge of the North York Moors. The cairnfield consists of at least 20 well-defined field clearance cairns distributed largely on the gentle slopes in the northern part of the monument, although there are at least three on more level ground at the southern end. Most of the cairns are sub-circular mounds constructed from small and medium sized stones and some are built around large erratic boulders. They measure 2m to 3m in diameter and stand between 0.2m and 0.5m high. The clearance cairns are the result of clearing the ground to improve it for agriculture. The cairnfield would originally have extended beyond the modern field boundaries to the west and north but upstanding features have been destroyed here by modern agricultural improvement. The standing stone is situated in the centre of the main concentration of clearance cairns. It measures 0.8m by 0.3m in section and stands up to 0.5m high. The round cairn lies at the top of the slope on the east side of the cairnfield. The cairn has a mound constructed from medium sized stones which is now largely covered with earth and vegetation. It measures 12m in diameter and stands up to 0.8m high. The cairn was originally surrounded by a kerb of stones which defined it and supported the mound. However, over the years many of these stones have been taken away or buried by soil accumulating around the edges of the cairn. In the centre of the mound and extending westwards to the edge there is a trench from past excavations. The round barrow is situated at the north east corner of the monument on a gentle north east facing slope adjacent to a small stream. It has an earth and stone mound which is 9m in diameter and stands up to 1m high. The mound was originally surrounded by a ditch up to 2m wide which has become filled in over the years and is no longer visible as an earthwork. To the south of the main concentration of clearance cairns is the enclosed field. It is sub-rectangular with rounded corners, and the south side is also slightly curved. The enclosure is defined by a bank of stones up to 2m wide and standing up to 0.3m high which incorporates an earthfast boulder at the south west corner. At the east end of the north side there is a break in the bank which is filled by two clearance cairns. The interior of the enclosure is level and measures 30m east to west and 14m north to south. It is interpreted as a cultivation plot associated with the cairnfield. The monument lies in an area where there are many prehistoric monuments, especially round barrows and cairns. Running through the east side of the monument in a NNE to SSW direction there is a well preserved section of the park pale bank and ditch of the medieval Cucket Deer Park. The section of pale bank is 1.5m high, 5m wide and has a rounded profile. It is an earthen bank with a stone core. A fence, hedge or wall would have been built on the bank to increase the height and contain the deer within the park. On either side of the pale is a ditch 3m wide and 0.5m deep. The original depth of the ditch was 4.5ft (c.1.3m). Cucket deer park was one of five such parks established by the de Mauley family of Mulgrave Castle. The first reference to the park is in the inquisition post-mortem of Peter de Mauley in 1309 when it is described as a park two leagues in circuit. Fence posts and the section of walling within the boundary on the north side of the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath the features 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: 32492

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hayes, R H, Rutter, J G, Wade's Causeway, (1964), 82-83
Rimington, F C, 'Transactions of the Scarborough and District Archaeological Soc' in The Early Deer Parks of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. 2,15, (1972), 35-37
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. 87, (1993)

End of official listing