Evidence of multiple field boundaries or terraces on a west-facing hillside south-east of Whitfield village was observed and photographed from Lees Hall by Dr Hood in March 2009. The photographs show a series of up to 16 distinct linear features roughly aligned to the contours. When plotted on a map [see report], the features appear to be at fairly regular intervals of about 25 metres, and up to 250 metres in length (although it cannot be assumed that the images show the full extent of these features). The features are not aligned with the present field boundaries and must therefore predate them. The present boundaries on the southern and eastern part the site, plus the line of Kidd Road, were determined by the 1813 Whitfield Enclosure Act, this land presumably being open common prior to that date. The remaining land is described on the plan to the Act as 'ancient enclosures', and the date of these is unknown, but it is clear from the map that they were created in a planned manner, possibly in phases, rather than by piecemeal assarting of land from the common, and it is likely that they date from the establishment of Lane Ends Farm some time between the late 17th-mid 18th centuries.
The features appear to be either raised field or strip boundaries, or possibly terraces, given that they run across a slope of about 1 in 7. Whitfield is in Domesday, and had an open field system, the fossilised boundaries of which are apparent on 19th century maps. One possibility is that these features represent a part of this field system, which was later abandoned to common. This is, however, unlikely for three reasons:
1. The visible field system is already, at about 25 hectares, around the average for the larger of the 12 Domesday villages in the Manor of Glossop.
2. Abandoned open field systems normally revert to enclosed pasture with the boundaries preserved as fossilised strip fields, not to common.
3. In 1972-4 Peter Wroe and Peter Mellor traced the Brough-Melandra Roman road from Brough to Hobhill, on the edge of Whitfield village. They cut two sections on the line where it runs between these features and the visible field system. They found intact surfaces at a depth of only 45 cm, making it unlikely that this area had ever been ploughed to any depth, and therefore indicating that the two systems are separate.
Taking into account also the steepness of the slope, the presence of the Roman road and the proximity to the garrison and vicus at Melandra, this appears to point to a greater likelihood of a Romano-British than a medieval date. See report for more details. (1)
Dr Hood, who photographed the earthworks described by Authority 1, observed that they seem to fit with the description of Romano-British fields given in Barnatt and Smith's The Peak District: Landscapes Through Time; i.e parallel narrow strips, with banked land divisions. (1, 2)