Extensive system of post-medieval fields on the west side of the moor. (1, 4) Photographic record. (2-3)
The existence of a field system at the north-west end of Stanton Moor appears to have been first recognised and surveyed by L.H. Butcher, undertaken in the mid 1960's. (5)
A fuller recording of the area was undertaken by Hart (6), however his survey has a plan position error of 50m west of true. Hart describes the field system as being comprised of two, possibly three phases of activity, with the prehistoric phase being represented by clearance alignments of stony banks of small rubble gritstones and soil; later phases are suggested to be post-medieval drystone walling. Another survey recognises two phases of activity, the earliest, of possible medieval date, being a series of unusual fields defined by low rubble banks, overlain by incomplete post-medieval drystone walling (7).
RCHME FIELD DESCRIPTION (8)
Centred at SK 24710 63340. FIELD SYSTEM.
Three clear phases of activity related to the creation of fields and enclosures are represented in this field system; a fourth phase is more conjectural. The conjectural earliest phase may be represented by the collection of small cairns, evident to the south of a late post-medieval drystone wall. A number of these cairns terminate, or are incorporated within linear clearance alignments, themselves appearing to be of the next an later phase. In this area the cairns appear to have been incorporated into a series of later defined plots. Mostly the cairns are irregular shaped, less than 4m diameter and <0.4m high. A clearance function has been suggested for a number of these cairns (6), however many of the observations by Hart are in error.
There is no unequivical evidence to indicate that cairns pre-date linear clearances in this area, although a number appear to be morphologically distinct, however the cairns and linear clearances appear collectively to be the earliest phase of agricultural activity on the site.
The first phase of linear clearance is represented by a series of rubble clearance banks which form a series of roughly parallel plots eminating from a common boundary at the E. The common boundary to these small rectilinear plots also forms the boundary between an almost surface stone free area to the W and the heavily stone littered area to the SE.
A subsequent phase of stone clearance/boundary demarcation which post-dates the creation of the rectilinear fields, is clearly demonstrated. At three points a rubble banking can be seen to have been constructed over the NW-SE clearance alignments of the earlier fields. This banking runs SW-NE along the crest line of the north facing slope of a natural trough. It has a deliberateness of construction which demonstrates it is one phase of construction. This banking is overlain by NW-SE striations relating to land improvement ploughing, probably related to the enclosure evidenced by the post-medieval drystone walling.
A further area of fields is centred at the west end of the field system at SK 24760 63350. A series of 4/5 parallel banks run along the north facing slope of the rough, each with a lynchet effect on the north side. These fields are bounded by narrow banks to revett the structure. To the NE are some narrow rubble banks whose orientation and construction suggest they may have some association with the second phase of linear fields just described.
The third and final phase of fields is represented by a series of collapsed drystone walls which are of post-medieval construction; no record of formal enclosure has been traced relating to Stanton Moor (6), although it is known that cultivation of waste land was taking place on Stanton Moor in 1847 (9).
To the NE of the field system, centred at SK 24850 63620, are the partial remains of a large rectanular field measuing 162m by 83m. Qyarrying has destroyed most of the west and north sides, what remains of the perimeter is mostly visible as a stony bank.
In addition to the post-medieval phase, at least one, if not two phases of prehistoric land exploitation may be represented in this field system. A substantial amount of ground, especially to the west, has been lost to quarrying, therefore what remains may be only a small part of a wider prehistoric field system. The morphology of the cairns and first phase of linear clearance can be ascribed to the Bronze Age, and are analogous to other field systems recorded in Derbyshire. (7, 10)
The formation of banking, shift of orientation and changs in field morphology in the second and later phase of fields, implies a delibrate organisation of construction. Their size and construction imply that the boundaries are more consistent with field demarcation rather than stone clearance. Although it has been suggested that the narrow fields are Medieval in origin (4), the morphology of the banks would be unusual. Therefore the dating of these fields remains uncertain and, although they post-date the earlier prehistoric fields, a prehistoric date for these also cannot be discounted.