Scheduled Monument: MEDIEVAL ENCLOSED FIELD SYSTEM AND EARLIER REMAINS AT SHEFFIELD PLANTATION (1017666)

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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 66
Date assigned Wednesday, April 24, 1935
Date last amended Thursday, January 29, 1998

Description

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more. The High Peak local region uplands bear traces of pre-medieval occupation, but the barren plateaux surfaces are now virtually uninhabited. Dark gritstone farmhouses were built in sheltered hollows, while deserted and derelict habitation sites witness the harsh conditions in these sheep grazing lands, or mark moribund industrial ventures. Of medieval settlements only a few dispersed homestead sites have so far been recognised. The enclosed field system at Sheffield Plantation is well preserved and is associated with a settlement site 400m to the south which is the subject of a separate scheduling. Together both monuments are important in demonstrating pioneer medieval settlement in the Peak District. DETAILS The monument includes a large, irregular enclosure which has a perimeter wall constructed from upright orthosats (selected boulders) with parts filled with drystone masonry. Immediately to the south there are also the remains of an incomplete enclosure wall and cairn. Within the enclosures are traces of linear clearance banks and cairns, indicating that the area was used as a field system. The enclosures are medieval in date but some of the clearance features may be prehistoric. The monument stands on level ground close to a scarp edge to the west which overlooks the Burbage Brook. The northern enclosed field system is roughly oval in shape with its longer axis oriented SSW-NNE. It is approximately 170m by 120m. Its walls are in various stages of survival but the outline of almost the entire enclosed field system can be identified. The western side of the enclosure is the most complete where orthostats stand to a height of approximately 0.6m. This side of the enclosure is broken only by an old drainage ditch. The southern end of the northern enclosure is truncated by a disused agricultural track which gave access to farmland to the south. The line of the wall can still be traced as a low linear bank with protruding stones and a hump in the track. The eastern side of the enclosure is again identified by a low linear embankment but with several more complete sections where orthostats and clearance debris still define the wall. There is a shallow ditch on the eastern side. The line of the enclosure wall can be traced northwards almost as far as a small stream to the north of the enclosure where the wall turns to the west. From this point, westwards, the northern enclosure wall is absent for much of its length although its general line can be traced by occasional, fragmentary remains running parallel to the stream. Again, where the disused track crosses the northern end of the enclosure, the line of the wall can be seen as a stony hump in the track. The western end of the northern section of the wall is missing but the line of the western section can be easily traced to within 15m of the stream. Land to the west and north of the northern enclosure contains much stone debris in contrast to that within the enclosure. The interior contains approximately 17 cairns of between 2m and 5m diameter, four wide linear clearance heaps and vestiges of stony banks. The distribution of the cairns and other clearance features is not confined to the enclosure. These features also extend to the south east beyond the walls of the enclosure, indicating that at least some of the clearance features relate to earlier agriculture which was possibly prehistoric. At the SSW end of the enclosure is a small platform which may be the site of a timber building. Four long house structures, which are likely to be contemporary with the medieval enclosure, are located within 400m to the south of the monument. These are the subject of a separate scheduling and are likely to be the settlement from which these fields were exploited. The walls of the southern enclosure are now little more than low fragmentary linear earthen banks with occasional stones which stand only a few centimetres above ground. The remains now partially enclose an area approximately 90m by 25m. It appears to be the northern end of a similar enclosure to that to the north. A post-medieval barn and field system appear to have destroyed the southern part of the enclosure and the embankment has been destroyed near a large drystone wall marking the northern end of the post-medieval enclosure. Incorporated into the enclosure wall is a large stony feature resembling a large cairn. It measures approximately 22m by 8m and stands 0.6m high. This is either a clearance heap, contemporary with the medieval enclosure, or the remains of a mutilated prehistoric barrow which became incorporated into the wall of the later enclosure. A kerb, visible on the northern side of the feature, adds support to this interpretation. The enclosed field systems are evidence of medieval assarting, the process whereby patches of common land were cleared and farmed after the Norman Conquest. There is a similar block of assarted land some 500m to the north west at Lawrence Field where it is associated with two long house structures, one of which is dated to the 11th or 12th century. The remains at both Lawrence Field and Sheffield Plantation represent the intaking of the plateau above Padley Manor. However, it is evident that some of the features at Sheffield Plantation relate to an earlier field system which may have its origin in the Bronze Age. Similar Bronze Age field systems are recorded on the backslopes of many of the gritstone edges in this region. Excluded from the scheduling are all post-medieval walls, gates, fences and posts, although the ground beneath them is included. SELECTED SOURCES Unpublished Title Reference - Author: Barnatt, JW - Title: Yarncliffe, Longshaw Estate .... Derbyshire - Date: 1994 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: unpublished survey report Unpublished Title Reference - Author: Barnatt, JW - Title: Yarncliffe, Longshaw Estate .... Derbyshire - Date: 1994 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: unpublished survey report Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, JW - Title: Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of Derbyshire - Date: 1986 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 106 - Type: DESC TEXT Book Reference - Author: Hart, CR - Title: North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey - Date: 1984 - Page References: 132 Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J W - Title: Bronze Age Settlement on the East Moors of Derbyshire - Date: 1986 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 106 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Beswick, P and Merrills, D - Title: L H Butcher's surveys of Early Settlements ... - Date: 1983 - Journal Title: Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society - Volume: 12 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Beswick, P and Merrills, D. - Title: L. H. Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..... - Date: 1983 - Journal Title: Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society. - Volume: 12 - Type: DESC TEXT

External Links (0)

Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1935. Scheduling Notification: Medieval enclosed field system and earlier remains at Sheffield Plantation. List entry no. 1017666. SM Cat. No. 66.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SK 2565 7918 (259m by 342m)
Map sheet SK27NE
Civil Parish GRINDLEFORD, DERBYSHIRE DALES, DERBYSHIRE

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Record last edited

Oct 11 2013 11:33AM

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