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Scheduled Monument record MDR6398 - Markland Grips promontory fort, Elmton

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

SK 511 752 Camp [O.E.] [Name SK 51107518] Promontory Fort [N.R.]. (1) Markland Grips occupies a level headland between two narrow confluent ravines with perpendicular sides. A rampart 200 yards in length cuts off the neck of the promontory and encloses an area of some 12 acres. (2) Roman silver coins of Vespasian, Titus, Trojan, Hadrian and the Antonines have been found here. (3) Scheduled. (4) Published survey 1/2500 revised. No information regarding coins. (5) Markland Grips was first recorded in any detail by Cox in 1905. He described it as 'one of the most remarkable and peculiar examples of Class A defensive earthworks in the whole kingdom'. A roughly triangular 'great level space of tableland' was enclosed on two sides by the 'grips' and on the third by three great ramparts, with corresponding fosses. On top of the inner rampart was the remains of an old hawthorn hedge. The rampart had been chiefly formed of large rough stones, many of which were partly exposed and of considerable size. The elevation of the south end of the rampart at that time was about 7ft above the inner level; the top of the rampart was 24ft wide and the ditch beyond was about 8 or 9ft deep and 15ft wide. The width and height at the north end was less. The remains of the two outer ramparts were considerable and well defined at the southern end 'up to recent years' but had been cut off by the making of the Teversall branch line of the Midland Railway. Cox noted that, through ploughing, the traces of the two outer ramparts were becoming less and less year by year. He also stated that 'No kind of excavation or systematic exploration of this camp has ever, to our knowledge, been made. A few artificial flint flakes were picked up on the top and sides of the rampart in January 1905. Two local labourers testified to the fact that when the Teversall line of railway cleared away the south end of the ramparts there were many such flints lying about, 'several shaped and pointed, but nobody thought of picking them up''. (6) Examination of the ground in circa 1911 could find no definite trace or satisfactory evidence of the two outer ramparts or of any ditch along the greater length of the single remaining rampart, presumably as the result of ploughing. (7) Survey of Markland Grips in 1969 found that the course of three ramparts and ditches could still be traced across the neck of the promontory, although only the first rampart was complete. On the ground, evidence for the two outer ramparts was the spread of pebbles and red/orange clay in the arable field west of the first rampart; their line is also clearly visible from the air. A section across the inner rampart found it to be of dump construction in which stone played a large part. There was no evidence of stone wall revetment. No structural or other surface features could be seen in the interior of the fort, probably due to the fact that it had been subject to repeated ploughing. A number of trenches were excavated in the interior. Materials and artifacts found during excavation indicated occupation at some unknown date in the Iron Age. There was also occupation in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Industrial activity is suggested by the quantity of gangue, slag and burnt clay, but the period of working is unknown since no securely stratified objects have been found with the materials. The remains of bone-working was also found in quantity, including finely executed disks of bone, at least two of which may have been buttons. (8) Listed by Challis and Harding as an Iron Age Hillfort with dumped ramparts. (9) Markland Grips is a triangular shaped promontory fort defended by triple ramparts and ditches enclosing about 12 acres. The entrance appears to lie in the centre of the line of defences. Excavations carried out there were too small to provide adequate information. Only two potsherds were recovered and no constructional phases can be postulated. The interior has been completely destroyed by intensive modern ploughing which is cutting into the bedrock leaving perhaps only deep gullies or pits with archaeological deposits. (10) Following the casual find of a possible Mousterian hand-axe on September 30 1985, fieldwalking in transects of the area to the east of the inner rampart on October 18 and 21 1985 produced a double end flake scraper, a flint core, and three fragments of miscellaneous waste, as well as four sherds of Romano-British pottery and considerable amounts of post 1750 pottery, brick, slag and glass. (12, 13) Site monitoring was carried out in 2003. Ploughing continues to the west and east of the site so, unless the archaeology there is judged to be already destroyed, this must continue to damage it. The bank appears to be generally in quite good condition, though it is covered in vegetation, however this is generally restricted to bushes and scrub rather than mature trees. The is the potential for erosion and damage as a result of the dismantled railway, which runs through the bank having been opened up as a 'linear park'. It is clear that the southern area on the bank is used for mountain biking and quad biking. There were three areas where fires had been lit and a couple of minor footpaths across the bank. (14)

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1956. OS 6", 1956.
  • <2> Article in serial: Preston, F. 1954. 'The hill-forts of the Peak', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 74, pp 1-31. p4-5.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Gray, J. 1883. Bolsover Castle. p6.
  • <4> Scheduling record: Ministry of Works. 1961. Ancient Monuments of England and Wales. 23311.
  • <5> Personal Observation: F1 JB 22-OCT-65.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J. 1905. 'Ancient Earthworks', in The Victoria County History of Derbyshire, Volume 1. pp 357-396. pp 364-367.
  • <7> Article in serial: Tristram, E. 1911. 'The promontory forts of Derbyshire', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 33, pp 1-18. pp 13-18.
  • <8> Article in serial: Lane, H. 1969. 'Markland Grips Iron Age Promontory Fort, an interim report', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 89, pp 59-67.
  • <9> Monograph: Challis, A & Harding, W. 1975. 'Later Prehistory from the Trent to the Tyne', British Archaeological Report 20. Part 2. p46.
  • <10> Bibliographic reference: Hart, C (NDAT). 1981. The North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500. p74-5, fig. 7:2.
  • <11> Index: North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust (NDAT). North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust Index: 0853. 0853.
  • <12> Archive: Knight, D (TPAT). 1984-1986. Fieldwalking Survey of Elmton - archive fieldwalking sheets held in the SMR. Acc. Nos 64, 67.
  • <13> Article in serial: Knight, D, Garton, D, & Leary, R (TPAT). 1998. 'The Elmton fieldwalking survey: prehistoric and Romano-British artefact scatters', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 118, pp 69-85.
  • <14> Unpublished document: McGuire, S & Hughes, J (HAS). 2003. Hunter Archaeological Society scheduled ancient monument monitoring: Markland Grips Promontory Fort.



Grid reference Centred SK 510 751 (445m by 264m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

  • EDR1888
  • EDR1891
  • EDR1311
  • EDR3956

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Record last edited

Mar 16 2020 2:06PM

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