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Town Bank prehistoric stone hut circle settlements, field systems, funerary cairns, ring cairn and cairnfield

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: Town Bank prehistoric stone hut circle settlements, field systems, funerary cairns, ring cairn and cairnfield

List entry Number: 1018502

Location

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

County: Cumbria

District: Copeland

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Ennerdale and Kinniside

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 02-Dec-1998

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: 27825

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 Cumbrian uplands comprise large areas of remote mountainous terrain, much of which is largely open fellside. As a result of archaeological surveys between 1980 and 1990 within the Lake District National Park, these fells have become one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the open fells there is sufficient well preserved and understood evidence over extensive areas for human exploitation of these uplands from the Neolithic to the post- medieval period. On the enclosed land and within forestry the archaeological remains are fragmentary, but they survive sufficiently well to show that human activity extended beyond the confines of the open fells. Bronze Age activity accounts for the most extensive use of the area, and evidence for it includes some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairn fields in England, as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other ceremonial remains. Taken together, their remains can provide a detailed insight into life in the later prehistoric period. Of additional importance is the well-preserved and often visible relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods, since this provides an understanding of changes in land use through time. Because of their rarity in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, most prehistoric monuments on the Lake District fells will be identified as nationally important.

Town Bank prehistoric stone hut circles settlements, field systems, funerary cairns, ring cairn and cairnfield survive well and form part of a large area of well-preserved prehistoric settlements which extend over Town Bank and Stockdale Moor. The monument contains a complex and diverse group of prehistoric monument classes and together these represent evidence of long term management and exploitation of this area in prehistoric times. It will contribute greatly to any further study of prehistoric settlement patterns within the Lake District.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of five prehistoric stone hut circle settlements, associated field systems, funerary cairns, a ring cairn and an extensive cairnfield. It is located towards the eastern end of Town Bank, a large area of unenclosed moorland on the southern slopes of Lank Rigg, and represents evidence for the prehistoric exploitation of this landscape. The most northerly of the stone hut circle settlements is situated approximately 320m south east of Gray Crag at NY09040984. It consists of a terraced platform sub-divided into two parts upon which huts are considered to have been constructed; the smaller western part measures 9.5m by 6.5m while the larger eastern part measures 19m by 16m. The northern wall of the platform forms part of the boundary of a large semi-enclosed field irregularly defined by discontinuous stone banks and walls which forms part of the stone hut circle settlement's associated field system. Three additional stone hut circles forming part of the settlement are built against or adjacent to the inside of the field's boundary wall. This field is sub-oval in plan, measures a maximum of approximately 170m by 115m, and is largely but not wholly devoid of cairns by comparison with the cairn concentrations outside, suggesting that deliberate stone clearance may have taken place here as part of land improvement in preparation for agriculture. Further evidence of the associated field system is represented by four small enclosures; two are located close together approximately 120m south of Gray Crag and one lies immediately beyond the north east boundary of the large field. Each of these enclosures display lynchet-like features suggesting that cultivation took place here. The fourth enclosure is situated approximately 460m ENE of Gray Crag; it is circular, slightly larger than the others, has a substantial surrounding wall, and is interpreted as a stock enclosure. Within the field system, and scattered over a wide area on all sides of the large field other than the south west, lie over 100 clearance cairns which form a randomly distributed cairnfield. At the extreme eastern edge of the monument, at NY09451002, lies a ring cairn measuring approximately 9m in diameter. A second stone hut circle settlement and associated field system is located on the hillslope north of Worm Gill and is centred approximately 660m SSE of Gray Crag at NY09000940. It consists of three hut circles varying between 9m-15m in diameter, a hut platform, and four large fields each defined by stone banks running down the hillslope. The north eastern of these fields contains upwards of 60 clearance cairns. By contrast the neighbouring field to the west has few cairns but it does contain two of the hut circles, a small rectangular enclosure which is attached to the field's western boundary bank, and a similar enclosure at the northern end of the field. The larger of the two hut circles in this field is connected to the enclosure by a stone wall, in the course of which this wall diverts around the smaller hut circle thus implying that the latter was still in use at the time of the wall's construction. Lynchets within the enclosures indicate cultivation has taken place here. The next field to the west has a truncated `V'-shape with its western boundary bank terminating at the south end adjacent to a hut platform. Within this field there are upwards of two dozen clearance cairns including one at the southern extremity of the group which, by its size and prominence, differs from the rest and which has been interpreted as a funerary cairn. The westernmost field is largely devoid of cairns, contains a single hut circle at its northern end, and is partly defined to the north by a stone bank and to the south by a group of clearance cairns. Overall this field system is characterised by alternating fields containing clearance cairns and fields generally without clearance cairns. Within the two westernmost of the fields described above are traces of another field system having boundaries defined by alignments of clearance cairns as opposed to stone banks. The western boundary of this field system is formed by an alignment of seven cairns while the eastern boundary is formed by an alignment of nine cairns. A short distance to the north of these field systems, at NY08880946, is a third stone hut circle settlement consisting of a hut platform approximately 21m in diameter, a hut circle measuring 12m in diameter, and an adjacent prominent kerbed cairn measuring 8.5m in diameter and up to 1.5m high which has been interpreted as a funerary cairn. Although lying close to the two field systems this settlement is not physically linked to either and is considered to be a later prehistoric feature. A fourth stone hut circle settlement is located approximately 760m SSW of Gray Crag at NY08450937. It consists of a hut circle measuring 11m in diameter with two rectangular enclosures immediately to the east, both of which display lynchets indicative of cultivation. A fifth stone hut circle settlement is located approximately 850m south west of Gray Crag at NY08210943. It consists of a hut circle approximately 9.5m in diameter which has a small rectangular enclosure attached to its south western side. Associated with this settlement is a field system consisting of three short fields defined by four parallel stone banks running down the hillslope; a small number of clearance cairns lie within the fields. Also associated with the field system are three enclosures; two rectangular ones west of a stream which both exhibit evidence of cultivation within and immediately to the west of them, and an oval-shaped one with an entrance on its eastern side located to the north of the short fields which is interpreted as a stock enclosure. A hut circle and an adjacent hut platform are also located north of the fields. Fields containing clearance cairns and fields largely devoid of them are both found at Town Bank. The differences between these individual fields indicate differing agricultural practices; random cairns can obstruct the use of the plough, thus the differences between the fields is interpreted as reflecting evidence of both pastoral and arable farming. Associated small enclosures displaying evidence of cultivation together with stock enclosures reinforce the interpretation that both arable and pastoral farming was undertaken here. The remains on Town Bank reflect either sporadic or transient occupation over a considerable time during the prehistoric period. The unenclosed hut circles are considered by comparison with dated examples from elsewhere in northern England to span a broad period from about 1750-450 BC.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 40-54
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 40-54
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)
Quartermaine, J A, Town Bank Survey Catalogue, (1986)

National Grid Reference: NY 08727 09606

Map

Map
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End of official listing