Cairnfield on Broomhead Moor, 500m north west of Mortimer House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018039

Date first listed: 04-Aug-1933

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield on Broomhead Moor, 500m 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 24274 94631


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.

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 the cairnfields provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural practices. The small cairnfield 500m north west of Mortimer House which developed near to a prehistoric burial cairn, provides an insight into prehistoric agricultural use of this area of moorland. The associated funerary cairn, although largely dismantled, may still retain buried archaeological remains.


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


The monument includes a cluster of small cairns extending over the site of a prehistoric feature known as the Apronful of Stones. The cairnfield lies in open moorland close to a Millstone Grit scarp edge, known as Hurkling Edge. The Apronful of Stones is interpreted as a large cairn which formerly stood in a prominent position close to the edge of the scarp, Hurkling Edge. Recent field surveys have failed to locate a large cairn at the designated location, although an arrangement of loose stones is interpreted as the scattered or disarranged remains of a large cairn, now destroyed. These remains are included in the scheduling. Heather removal immediately adjacent to the site of the Apronful of Stones has revealed a small cairnfield to the north of a track known as the Dukes Drive which runs along the gritstone edge. There are six visible cairns located close together on ground gently shelving to the north east. The area of moorland around the cairns appears stone-cleared and the features are interpreted as prehistoric clearance cairns, probably of Bronze Age date. The cairns are composed of small and medium sized stones. The largest of the group measures approximately 6.5m by 3.5m and is ovoid in plan. The other five cairns are slightly smaller and also tend to be ovoid in shape. The cairns stand to a height of about 0.3m-0.4m and are covered with turf and peat. It is likely that more of the cairns survive beneath the ground surface. The cairns form a compact group in an area of only approximately 30m in diameter with the southern extent marked by Dukes Drive. The presence of the cairnfield supports the view that the Apronful of Stones was once a large cairn which has been subsequently destroyed. It is relatively common in Bronze Age field systems to find that one or more clearance cairns also functioned as funerary monuments. In these cases, it appears that extra material was heaped on the cairn which contained a primary and sometimes secondary burials. Its location, overlooking the Loxley Valley close to the gritstone edge, also indicates that its function may have been funerary. It is possible that, although most of the stone from the Apronful of Stones has been robbed away, some buried prehistoric features are likely to survive.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 10 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: 29809

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Addy, S O, The Hall of Waltheof, (1893)
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 42

End of official listing