Monument record MDR2826 - Medieval farmstead and possible earlier enclosure, Hilltop Farm, Aldwark

Type and Period (7)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

SK 229572. Complex of field banks and enclosures recorded by L Butcher and assumed to be Romano-British. (1,3-5). An extensive area of disused quarrying and enclosure banks is centred at SK 22905710. There is no surface indication of archaeological features nor evidence to suggest a Roman influence. (2). The site lies adjacent to Hilltop Farm. The enclosing bank and the site internally have been badly mutilated by mining and later activities but there is sufficient evidence to suggest a strong protective, slab-on-edge, rubble bank. In the north-eastern corner is what appears to be the main entrance, close to the present lane. The enclosed area is approximately 140 metres by 150 metres. Internally there are strong indications of platforms and smaller domestic enclosures. There are also two rectangular house sites, 17.5x5m and 12.5x5m belonging to a 13th-14th century farmstead. Romano-British pottery has been recovered from the site but now appears lost. (6). This site was first recorded in 1962 and subsequently surveyed. Part of the site was later damaged so a resurvey was undertaken in 1992. It was believed to be Romano-British in date, so excavations were undertaken initially as part of G Makepeace's research into Romano-British settlements in the area. However, all the features identified during the excavations were medieval. These comprised a longhouse (long barn) and two further buildings, only one of which was fully excavated. A courtyard area was also excavated. Pottery evidence suggested that the main period of occupation of the farm belongs to the 13th-14th centuries, with perhaps a late 12th century beginning. Most of the medieval pottery was manufactured at Burley Hill near Duffield and at Brackenfield near Wingfield. Other medieval finds included a lead spindle whorl, copper tweezers, copper belt mounts and fragments of gritstone querns, often reused as paving stones, wall stones or hearth stones. Lead ore recovered from the courtyard area indicates collection and processing somewhere on the site. There was some evidence for prehistoric activity in the form of Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age flint and chert artefacts, although no structures or features were found associated with these due to the later clearance and disturbance of the site during construction and occupation of the farm. There was also some 18th and 19th century pottery sherds scattered immediately above the medieval layer. The banked enclosure is considered to be older than the medieval farm and, with its orthostat and rubble construction is reminiscent of many late prehistoric, Romano-British or even medieval features; however at present it cannot be dated. (7) Possible Romano-British settlement site, with features that include lynchets, stone banks and possible single orthostatic and double orthostatic boundaries. Dating is based on surface finds of Romano-British pottery; however recent excavations have provided only medieval dates and it is possible that the whole site is part of a shrunken medieval village. The orientation of the dated medieval longhouse with the surrounding enclosures does suggest a contemporary date. (8).

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: East Midlands Committee of Field Archaeologists. 1962. East Midlands Archaeological Bulletin, 1962. No. 5. p5.
  • <2> Personal Observation: F1 FDC 11-NOV-66.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Hart, C (NDAT). 1981. The North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500. p101, fig. 8:11.
  • <4> Article in serial: Beswick, P and Merrills, D. 1983. 'L H Butcher's survey of early settlements and fields in the Southern Pennines', Transactions of the Hunter Archaeology Society. Volume 12, pp 16-50. p39.
  • <5> Index: NDAT. 0035. 0035.
  • <6> Article in serial: Makepeace, G. 1998. 'Romano-British rural settlements in the Peak District and north-east Staffordshire', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol. 118, pp 95-138. p 113; p 114, fig. 6.
  • <7> Article in serial: Makepeace, G. 2001. 'Report on the excavations of a medieval farm at Hill Top Farm, Aldwark, near Brassington, Derbyshire, 1992-95', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 121, pp 162-189.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Bevan, B (PDNPA). 2000. Peak District Romano-British Rural Upland Settlement Survey, 1998-1000. 3 vols.. Site Code 006; illust no. 9.



Grid reference Centred SK 228 572 (175m by 157m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR4052
  • EDR1011

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Aug 11 2015 11:37AM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.