Stoke Flat East prehistoric field system


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017591

Date first listed: 23-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Stoke Flat East prehistoric field system
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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: Baslow and Bubnell

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 25470 76427


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

Reasons for Designation

The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors. On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England as well settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time. A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, will be identified as nationally important.

Prehistoric field systems often consist of concentrations of clearance cairns, sometimes with linear clearance banks. The features were constructed from stone cleared from the surrounding landscape to improve its use for agriculture and on occaisions their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. Such field systems were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC), although the majority of examples 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 the sites provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural practices. The monument at Stoke Flat East is a good example of a well developed prehistoric field system created by extensive clearance of stone from the moorland. Of all the Bronze Age field systems on the East Moors of Derbyshire, few contain such good examples of irregular and sub-rectangular fields.


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


The monument includes a series of Bronze Age cairns with associated clearance banks forming a prehistoric field system. The remains are located in open moorland close to a gritstone scarp edge known as Froggatt Edge which overlooks the River Derwent. The remains occupy gently shelving and well drained land sloping to the east. A short distance to the west is another similar prehistoric field system known as Stoke Flat West which is the subject of a separate scheduling (SM 29805). There are up to 19 cairns composed of medium and large stones within the monument. Some appear to have been placed over large earthfast boulders. Although one or two of the cairns have been disturbed in recent times, others are still intact. The area has been cleared of stones and, despite heather growth, the remains are easily traced. The cairns are of varying size, ranging from 2m to 8.5m in diameter. Some of them are ovoid in plan where they are associated with linear clearance. It is thought that the primary function of the cairns was for agricultural clearance but such cairns were often reused for funerary purposes. At Stoke Flat some cairns, especially the larger ones where further stone was added to the original cairn, may have served such a function. One particular cairn, measuring about 7m by 8.5m and lying close to the centre of the monument, is very prominent and is likely to have been reused in this way. The most impressive features of the monument are the linear clearance banks. These are lengths of low, wide banking containing various sizes of cleared stone and are in an extremely good state of preservation, being less fragmentary than elsewhere in the East Moors of Derbyshire. Many of the banks survive to a height of about 0.6m to 0.7m. They were most likely formed from the clearance of the landscape during which stones were moved from the edges of fields and placed along their boundaries. These boundaries were probably also marked by hedges or fences. The arrangement of linear clearance shows that the area was divided into small irregular and sub-rectangular fields and smaller enclosures which are better described as yards. Towards the centre of the field system are two very prominent enclosures which are all but complete. Practically the entire western boundary of the field system is bounded by a near continuous clearance bank which stands on the top of the break of slope. The banks are now turf covered, although some stone debris can be seen emerging from them. The field banks and clearance cairns together confirm that the area was used for agricultural purposes but it is likely that contemporary settlements, at present unlocated, also lay within the area of the monument. Beyond the southern end of the monument are further fragmentary lengths of linear clearance bank which indicate that the field system was originally more extensive. These fragmentary remains are not included in the scheduling. The area is crossed by several braids of hollow way running east to west. These are of uncertain date but may have been medieval routeways providing access to moorland pasture from adjacent settlements. At the southern end of the monument a post medieval sheepfold has caused some disturbance to the prehistoric remains. All post-medieval stone walls and fencing are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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: 29804

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 35-6
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 35-6
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., (1983)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., (1983)

End of official listing