Ring cairn, 340m north west of Mortimer House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017667

Date first listed: 22-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Ring cairn, 340m north west of Mortimer House
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Sheffield (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Bradfield

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 24480 94582


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.

A ring cain is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones surrounding a hollow central area. They are found mainly in the upland areas of Britain and are interpreted as being of Early or Middle Bronze Age in date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. As a relatively rare class of monument, exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation. The ring cairn 340m north west of Mortimer House survives well and will retain significant information about its original form and the burials placed within it.


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


The monument includes the circular earthwork of a ring cairn situated in moorland overlooking the village of Bradfield. The site of the monument slopes gently to the east close to a linear earthwork known as The Bar Dyke. It stands on a broad ridge crest between higher moorland to the west and the lower cultivated land shelves to the south and south east. The ring cairn is part of a group of similar monuments, dated to the Bronze Age, surviving on the gritstone fringes of the Peak District. The ring cairn is roughly circular, measuring 27m by 23m externally and 22.5m by 21m internally. It comprises a low bank which stands approximately 0.3m high. The width of the bank is variable but, typically, is 1.5m-2.5m wide. Some of the earthwork is poorly defined and is often obscured by heather. There is a small, shallow pit in the western interior edge of the bank. A small cairn appears to be superimposed on the eastern edge of the embankment, with a diameter of 4.5m. A disused pathway or animal track passes east-west through the earthwork which has caused some erosion damage to the embankment and interior. The ring cairn dates to the Bronze Age and forms part of a series of remains of the same date on the gritstone moors of the Peak District. A small cairnfield is located to the west, which is the subject of a separate scheduling (SM 29809), and the remains of a Bronze Age or possibly Romano- British settlement is located at Smallfield, within 1km to the south east. There has in the past been some confusion over the location of a feature known as `The Apronful of Stones': this is now located by the Ordnance Survey some 300m to the west. However, older maps show the `Apronful' located on the site of this ring cairn. The `Apronful' is described as the remains of a large barrow or cairn. All fences and fence posts 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. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 29819

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 42-4
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey

End of official listing