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Monument record MDR3619 - Hob Hurst's House, Harland Edge, Beeley

Type and Period (2)

  • (Early Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 1501 BC)
  • (Early Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 1501 BC)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

This site was excavated by Thomas Bateman in 1853, who described it as follows: "On the 3rd of June, we went to a conspicuous mound on the heathery, uninclosed, and most elevated part of Baslow Moor, called Hob Hurst's House, and found it to be a circular tumulus, composed of sand and gritstones, about eleven yards diameter, and four feet high; though, from its being surrounded by an embankment, inside of which the earth had been cut in the form of a ditch, the height appeared fully six feet, and it was only by digging down to the natural surface, that we were able to ascertain the actual elevation. The diameter at the outside of the embankment was 22 yards, it was formed, like the mound, of stones and sand, and was fourteen feet thick at the base and about four feet high." Bateman cut a trench from the south side of the central mound and uncovered a rectangular cist measuring 10 ft 3 ins by 9 ft and constructed of large stone slabs. Traces of fire were identified. There was a cremation deposit in one corner within a semi-circle of burnt stones and a few more burnt bones near the north end. (1) The remains are much mutilated by excavations, but are predominately of earth. Resurveyed at 1/2500. (2) This unusual site consists of a sub-rectangular central cairn, 8m x 7.5m in plan and just under 1m high. At its centre is a rectangular setting of contiguous orthostats, five of which still stand. The internal dimensions of this arrangement of stones are 3m x 2m, and it is about 0.3m deep, although presumably it has filled up since excavated by Bateman in 1853. Surrounding the cairn is a deep ditch and low outer bank. The bank and ditch are disturbed to the north where a packhorse track cuts the bank and follows the ditch along its northern side. The ditch is surprisingly steep-sided for a prehistoric monument. However, Bateman's pre-excavation drawing shows it in exactly the same state as it is today, indicating that it was not cleared out by him. It is presumably rock cut and some explanation for its profile is provided on the southern half of the mound, where recent erosion has revealed what appears to be a stone retaining wall at the outer edge of the cairn. (5) A comprehensive contour survey was undertaken in 1988 by Trent and Peak Archaeological Trust, and erosion areas were made good with turf etc. (6) Scheduling Notification (8) This site is located above Harland Edge at 340m OD. It comprises a central mound, sub-rectangular in shape, surrounded by a bank and a ditch. The mound, 8.0 x 7.5m, is just under 1m high. At its centre is a rectangular setting of orthostatic stones measuring internally 3.5m x 2m. Five orthostats still stand - there may have originally been around 13 with each set next to each other and standing nearly 1m high. Bateman's excavations found traces of burning in-situ within the mound, and a cremation surrounded by an arc of stones in the south eastern corner. Some fragmented bone was also found to the north. Bateman's published sketch of the orthostats accompanying his account of the excavation does not tally with the present remains and perhaps it was drawn from memory. Recent erosion to the west and south has exposed the top of a drystone retaining wall at the outer edge of the mound. His was returfed in 1988. Bateman noted he entered the mound from the south, but a disturbance to the south-west is more likely to be his work. (9) The unusual square ditched barrow surviving as an earthwork at Hob Hurst's House, Beeley, could perhaps be of Iron Age date, as Iron Age square ditched features have been recorded from elsewhere. Bateman records finding evidence of fire and deposits of cremated bone in a large stone cist, perhaps analogous to the cists used for Iron Age burials in Wales and the West Country. (10) The square barrow is a rare phenomenon in the Peak District, with Hob Hurst's House being one of only two certain examples. The recent suggestion of a possible Iron Age date (see Authority 10) is interesting and requires testing, although both of the two examples are built in high, isolated locations well away from any known Iron Age settlement. Hob Hurst's House is currently undated and the possibility that the ditch is a later feature cannot be discounted. (11) This isolated mound on Harland Edge is architecturally very unusual, being square rather than round, with a prominent penannular bank and ditch. The steep-sided nature of the ditch and mound/bank sides invites speculation that it is of relatively recent origin, either as a robber quarry or through clearance by antiquarians. However, the site has been in its present state since at least 1853 and its form may be explained by it being rock cut. At the centre of the barrow are the remains of a rectangular stone setting built of vertically-set slabs defining the edge of a central partly-silted hollow. The central setting is as unusual as the rest of the site and while the barrow is probably of Neolithic or Earlier Bronze Age date, it could also be Iron Age, although square Iron Age barrows elsewhere are typically much smaller. (12) Photographic record. (13) Copy of a measured plan held at PDNPA. (14) Site monitoring has been carried out. See form for details. (15) A digital copy of a water-colour and site plan of Hob Hurst's House, made by General Pitt-Rivers, was sent to the HER via the Pitt Rivers Museum. It was drawn in 1884 when he was first Inspector of Ancient Monuments. It is from a newly-discovered album of images donated to the museum by the Pitt-Rivers family. (16)

Sources/Archives (16)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Bateman, T. 1861. Ten Years' Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave Hills. pp 87-88, illust..
  • <2> Personal Observation: F1 FRH 13-JUN-66.
  • <3> Index: NDAT. 0323. 0323.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Marsden, B. 1977. The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire. p20.
  • <5> Article in serial: Barnatt, J. 1986. 'Bronze Age remains on the East Moors of the Peak District', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 106, pp 18-100. p 63.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Pers. Comm. K Smith. 19-07-1988.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Barnatt, J. 1989. The Peak District Barrow Survey (updated 1994). Site 29:27.
  • <8> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1994. Scheduling Notification. 23324. Cat. No.: 3.
  • <9> Monograph: Barnatt, J. 1990. The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District. p 87, Site 51.
  • <10> Bibliographic reference: Beswick P & Wright, M (in Hodges, R & Smith, K (eds). 1991. 'Iron Age burials from Winster', in Recent Developments in the Archaeology of the Peak District. p 54.
  • <11> Bibliographic reference: Barnatt, J & Collis, J. 1996. 'A review & interpretation of extant sites & past excavations', in Barrows in the Peak District. pp 3-94. pp 27-28; Fig. 1.12.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Barnatt, J (PDNPA). 1998. The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey, Chatsworth Moorlands: Archaeological Survey 1997-8. pp 100-101, Feature 18.1.
  • <13> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Slide Collection. 1413.1-13.
  • <14> Unpublished document: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Parish file. Beeley, 1'4"-5'.
  • <15> Unpublished document: Bell, S (PDNPA). 2010. Scheduled Monument Monitoring Form: Hob Hurst House; A square banked and ditched burial cairn with cist.
  • <16> Photograph: Photograph Collection, Conservation & Design section, Derbyshire County Council. HER Images (digital).



Grid reference Centred SK 2874 6923 (29m by 27m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

  • EDR568
  • EDR1060
  • EDR3205
  • EDR3972

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Record last edited

Sep 1 2016 10:17AM

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