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Stoke Flat West prehistoric field system and stone circle

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: Stoke Flat West prehistoric field system and stone circle

List entry Number: 1017592

Location

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

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Baslow and Bubnell

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Froggatt

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 23-Dec-1997

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29805

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

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 occaisons 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 stone circle at Stoke Flat West, a monument type which is concentrated in the western and upland areas of England. This distribution may be more a reflection of present survival rather than an original pattern. The uses for which these monuments were constructed is not fully understood, 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 interment of the dead. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistroic ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation. The field system and stone circle of Stoke Flat West together illustrate the relationship between agricultural, domestic and ritual activity. This is one of the best preserved of several examples of field systems on the East Moors of Derbyshire. The importance of the monument is enhanced by its association with other areas of prehistoric activity on the same stretch of moorland, forming an area of outstanding importance to our understanding of Bronze Age society.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a series of Bronze Age cairns with associated clearance banks forming a prehistoric field system. In addition, there is also an embanked stone circle within the complex. The remains are located in open moorland to the immediate east of a gritstone scarp known edge known as Froggatt Edge. The latter overlooks the River Derwent and is less that 1km east of the village of Froggatt. The remains occupy gently shelving and relatively well-drained land sloping to the west. A short distance to the east is another similar prehistoric field system known as Stoke Flat East and there is another a short distance to the south known as Stoke Flat South, both the subjects of separate schedulings (SMs 29804 and SM 29806 respectively). There are about 50 cairns constructed of medium and large stones distributed throughout the monument. Some appear to have been placed over the large earthfast boulders. Although several have been disturbed in recent times, many appear 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 1.5m to 7.4m in diameter. Some are clustered together forming small areas of cairnfield, others are interspersed amongst field banks. Some of the cairns are elongated and are thus ovoid in plan, especially where they are associated with linear clearance. The relationship between some of the cairns and the banks indicates chronological depth within the complex. It is thought that the primary function of the cairns was for agricultural clearance but they were often reused for human burial. At Stoke Flat some of the larger cairns may have been reused in this way. One particularly large cairn, which is overlain by a later sheepfold in the middle of the monument, is 13.5m in diameter. It exhibits disturbance to the centre of the mound probably indicative of antiquarian attempts to locate a central burial. Additionally a group of 14 small cairns immediately associated with a stone circle may also contain burials. The linear clearance banks within the monument survive well, some standing 0.6 to 0.7m high. They are constructed of stone cleared from the adjacent land and incorporate earthfast boulders in places. They represent the boundaries of fields which may also have been defined by hedges or fences. These fields were small and included irreular and sub-rectangular areas. Smaller enclosures are best interpreted as yards. About eight fields can be identified, arranged coaxially to form a long north-south strip of fields each oriented with their main axis running east-west. Additionally two or three small yards can also be identified. The field system and cairnfield are restricted to the better drained moor and indicate extensive prehistoric agriculture in the area. It is likely that some contemporary settlement also lay on the moor within the area of the field system and a small isolated arrangement of semi-circular banking close to the centre of the complex has been interpreted as a hut circle. Towards the northern end of the monument stands an embanked stone circle with an internal diameter of 11.5m. It has two diametrically opposed entrances oriented NNE and SSW. That to the SSW has two large orthostats (upright boulders) at each side of the entrance, the larger one being 1.1m high. The NNE entrance, which appears to have been blocked, possibly in prehistoric times, is also flanked by three orthostats. There are 12 or more large stones within the earthen embankment of the circle including those around the two entrances; some stand upright to a height of between 0.35 and 0.55m, others just break the surface of the embankment. The stone circle may once have had an arrangement of inner and outer orthostats around the embankment. There are nine surviving standing stones set into the inner face of the embankment and a similar number indicate the second outer arrangement, three of which are recumbent. It has been estimated that there were originally 16 standing stones in the inner part of the embankment. The monument is crossed by several hollow ways. These are of uncertain date but may have been medieval routeways providing access to moorland pasture. All post-medieval stone walls, wooden fenceposts and wire 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Burl, A, The Stone Circles of the British Isles, (1976)
RCHME, , Stoke Flat Field System, (1987)
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 50
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 33-6
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983), 16-50

National Grid Reference: SK 25000 76595

Map

Map
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End of official listing