Worm Gill Ancient Settlement
Period: Prehistoric Date: Unknown
Location: Around Worm Gill
The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of five prehistoric stone hut circle settlements, associated field systems, funerary cairns, a ring cairn and an extensive cairnfield. It is located towards the eastern end of Town Bank, a large area of unenclosed moorland on the southern slopes of Lank Rigg, and represents evidence for the prehistoric exploitation of this landscape.The most northerly of the stone hut circle settlements is situated approximately 320m south east of Gray Crag at NY09040984. It consists of a terraced platform sub-divided into two parts upon which huts are considered to have been constructed; the smaller western part measures 9.5m by 6.5m while the larger eastern part measures 19m by 16m. The northern wall of the platform forms part of the boundary of a large semi-enclosed field irregularly defined by discontinuous stone banks and walls which forms part of the stone hut circle settlement's associated field system. Three additional stone hut circles forming part of the settlement are built against or adjacent to the inside of the field's boundary wall.

This field is sub-oval in plan, measures a maximum of approximately 170m by 115m, and is largely but not wholly devoid of cairns by comparison with the cairn concentrations outside, suggesting that deliberate stone clearance may have taken place here as part of land improvement in preparation for agriculture. Further evidence of the associated field system is represented by four small enclosures; two are located close together approximately 120m south of Gray Crag and one lies immediately beyond the north east boundary of the large field. Each of these enclosures display lynchet-like features suggesting that cultivation took place here. The fourth enclosure is situated approximately 460m ENE of Gray Crag; it is circular, slightly larger than the others, has a substantial surrounding wall, and is interpreted as a stock enclosure. Within the field system, and scattered over a wide area on all sides of the large field other than the south west, lie over 100 clearance cairns which form a randomly distributed cairnfield. At the extreme eastern edge of the monument, at NY09451002, lies a ring cairn measuring approximately 9m in diameter. A second stone hut circle settlement and associated field system is located on the hillslope north of Worm Gill and is centred approximately 660m SSE of Gray Crag at NY09000940.

It consists of three hut circles varying between 9m-15m in diameter, a hut platform, and four large fields each defined by stone banks running down the hillslope. The north eastern of these fields contains upwards of 60 clearance cairns. By contrast the neighbouring field to the west has few cairns but it does contain two of the hut circles, a small rectangular enclosure which is attached to the field's western boundary bank, and a similar enclosure at the northern end of the field. The larger of the two hut circles in this field is connected to the enclosure by a stone wall, in the course of which this wall diverts around the smaller hut circle thus implying that the latter was still in use at the time of the wall's construction. Lynchets within the enclosures indicate cultivation has taken place here. The next field to the west has a truncated `V'-shape with its western boundary bank terminating at the south end adjacent to a hut platform. Within this field there are upwards of two dozen clearance cairns including one at the southern extremity of the group which, by its size and prominence, differs from the rest and which has been interpreted as a funerary cairn. The westernmost field is largely devoid of cairns, contains a single hut circle at its northern end, and is partly defined to the north by a stone bank and to the south by a group of clearance cairns. Overall this field system is characterised by alternating fields containing clearance cairns and fields generally without clearance cairns. Within the two westernmost of the fields described above are traces of another field system having boundaries defined by alignments of clearance cairns as opposed to stone banks. The western boundary of this field system is formed by an alignment of seven cairns while the eastern boundary is formed by an alignment of nine cairns. A short distance to the north of these field systems, at NY08880946, is a third stone hut circle settlement consisting of a hut platform approximately 21m in diameter, a hut circle measuring 12m in diameter, and an adjacent prominent kerbed cairn measuring 8.5m in diameter and up to 1.5m high which has been interpreted as a funerary cairn. Although lying close to the two field systems this settlement is not physically linked to either and is considered to be a later prehistoric feature. A fourth stone hut circle settlement is located approximately 760m SSW of Gray Crag at NY08450937. It consists of a hut circle measuring 11m in diameter with two rectangular enclosures immediately to the east, both of which display lynchets indicative of cultivation. A fifth stone hut circle settlement is located approximately 850m south west of Gray Crag at NY08210943. It consists of a hut circle approximately 9.5m in diameter which has a small rectangular enclosure attached to its south western side. Associated with this settlement is a field system consisting of three short fields defined by four parallel stone banks running down the hillslope; a small number of clearance cairns lie within the fields. Also associated with the field system are three enclosures; two rectangular ones west of a stream which both exhibit evidence of cultivation within and immediately to the west of them, and an oval-shaped one with an entrance on its eastern side located to the north of the short fields which is interpreted as a stock enclosure. A hut circle and an adjacent hut platform are also located north of the fields. Fields containing clearance cairns and fields largely devoid of them are both found at Town Bank. The differences between these individual fields indicate differing agricultural practices; random cairns can obstruct the use of the plough, thus the differences between the fields is interpreted as reflecting evidence of both pastoral and arable farming. Associated small enclosures displaying evidence of cultivation together with stock enclosures reinforce the interpretation that both arable and pastoral farming was undertaken here. The remains on Town Bank reflect either sporadic or transient occupation over a considerable time during the prehistoric period. The unenclosed hut circles are considered by comparison with dated examples from elsewhere in northern England to span a broad period from about 1750-450 BC.
The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Monks Graves prehistoric cairn cemetery, a field system, four stone clearance cairnfields, and other funerary monuments scattered amongst the cairnfields, including five funerary cairns and a ring cairn. It is located on Stockdale Moor, an expansive area of undulating unenclosed moorland between the River Bleng and Worm Gill, and represents evidence for the prehistoric exploitation of this landscape. Monks Graves prehistoric cairn cemetery is centred at approximately NY09970970 and consists of 18 funerary round cairns measuring a maximum of 7.7m by 5.3m and up to 0.5m high, and two ring cairns up to 10m in diameter and 0.4m high. The cairn cemetery lies within a stone clearance cairnfield consisting of upwards of 40 cairns and there is some surface evidence to suggest that a small number of clearance cairns may have been robbed to provide stone for funerary cairns, thus implying that the clearance cairns predate the funerary monuments. The cairn cemetery and associated cairnfield lie within a field system consisting of two predominantly parallel stone banks 300m and 370m long and 180m-200m apart.
A third stone bank, more fragmentary in construction and approximately 830m long, lies to the north and is considered to represent the line of a field boundary in which sporadic lengths of stone clearance were piled against a feature such as a fence or hedge which does not now survive as surface evidence. This field boundary is aligned north east-south west. Three other small clearance cairnfields, each containing about 20 cairns, lie in the vicinity of Monks Graves; one is located some 500m north west of Monks Graves and is centred at approximately NY09641015, a second is located some 330m WNW of Monks Graves and is centred at approximately NY09670985, and a third is located some 530m WSW of Monks Graves and is centred at approximately NY09520946. Funerary monuments are found in each of these cairnfields; the northern one contains a ring cairn, the central one contains a round funerary cairn, and the southern one contains two round funerary cairns. A further two round funerary cairns are located on top of a low ridge between Caw Gill and Cawfell Beck south west of Monks Graves at NY09350926 and NY09380929. The prehistoric remains on Stockdale Moor reflect occupation of the landscape over a long period. The funerary round cairns both within Monks Graves cemetery and scattered amongst the cairnfields are considered from comparison with dated examples elsewhere to be dated approximately to the second millenium BC, whilst one of the ring cairns is paralleled in form with an excavated example from Peebleshire which contained four cremations beneath a central mound and had a carbon date of 1490+-90 bc. This is in accord with other known dates for ring cairns which generally ascribe them to the Bronze Age. Agricultural use of the moor is attested by the presence of the clearance cairns which are smaller and more erratically defined than the funerary monuments and illustrate contrasting uses of the moor during the prehistoric period. Although it is conceivable that the cairn cemetery was in intermittent use at the same time that the surrounding land was used for agriculture, particularly as there is a slight merging of clearance and funerary cairns within Monks Graves, it is perhaps more credible to surmise that the two elements were constructed in different phases, as indeed is suggested in a small number of instances where the surface remains have indicated that clearance cairns have been robbed to provide material for nearby funerary cairns.
The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of six prehistoric stone clearance cairnfields of various sizes, four field systems, three of which are located within separate cairnfields, a small unenclosed cairn cemetery, and numerous other funerary monuments scattered within the cairnfields, including 15 funerary cairns and eight ring cairns. It is located on Stockdale Moor, an expansive area of undulating unenclosed moorland between the River Bleng and Worm Gill, and represents evidence for the prehistoric exploitation of this landscape. At the eastern edge of the monument at NY10850833 there is a `Y'-shaped arrangement of stone banking known as Aaron's Apron. Gaps in the banking similar to entrances together with a stone cairn incorporated within the bank suggest that this feature formed part of a prehistoric field system, parts of which have been identified elsewhere within the cairnfields. The northern cairnfield lies some 850m NNW of Sampson's Bratfull, the largest funerary cairn on Stockdale Moor, and is centred at approximately NY09680887. It consists of a cluster of upwards of 30 clearance cairns amongst which are a group of seven which, by their larger size and better definition, are interpreted as funerary cairns forming an unenclosed cairn cemetery.
A short distance to the north west of this cairnfield there is evidence for the remains of a prehistoric field system in the form of an alignment of six clearance-type cairns running across the moor for about 270m; these cairns are interpreted as representing the line of a field boundary in which sporadic patches of stone clearance were piled against a fence or hedge. Between this field boundary and the cairnfield there is a double ring cairn consisting of two ring cairns lying side by side. This feature is paralleled on the north western side of the field boundary where there is also a round funerary cairn. Some 470m NNE of Sampson's Bratfull, centred at approximately NY09960850, there is a second cairnfield; this cairnfield displays evidence of more than one period of stone clearance. In general the cairns at the north west end of this cairnfield are larger, better defined and more widely spaced than the cairns in the centre of the cairnfield. The cairns at the southern end of the cairnfield are located on a ridge and are slightly isolated from the rest of the cairns by a sharp break of slope. Short lengths of stone banking within the cairnfield are considered to be another manifestation of stone clearance. Some 400m north west of Sampson's Bratfull, centred at approximately NY09500825, there is a third cairnfield consisting of small concentrations of clearance cairns totalling about 100 in number which partially surround a predominantly open area interpreted as a contemporary field. At the southern end of the cairnfield there is a ring cairn and at the northern end there is another ring cairn which is situated close to a cluster of three funerary cairns with a fourth lying a short distance to the SSE. The field boundary is represented by three short sections of stone bank between which is an alignment of eight cairns. Just outside the north eastern side of the field there is a ring cairn and two funerary cairns. The fourth and most complex cairnfield lies immediately to the south east of Sampson's Bratfull and is centred at approximately NY09950780. It consists of concentrations of clearance cairns totalling about 250 in number which lie on all but the southern side of two large fields, the western of which has boundaries formed by stone banks and the eastern of which has boundaries formed by a combination of stone banks and a cairn alignment. The western field has few cairns within it but does contain a natural gully, an abundance of surface stone, and is generally considered to be unsuitable for cultivation. The eastern field, however, although containing a moderate concentration of cairns, has well drained land with a uniform and moderate slope which is considered to be acceptable agricultural land; thus the difference between the two fields suggests that they were used for differing agricultural purposes. An area largely but not wholly devoid of cairns lying immediately to the south west of the western field may indicate the site of a third field while a smaller fourth field may be represented by alignments of short lengths of stone bank a short distance to the west. Amongst the clearance cairns forming the cairnfield are three ring cairns, one of which has alternatively been suggested to be a hut circle, and four funerary cairns, one of which, to the south of the two fields, is one of the largest on the moor. This cairn, although disturbed since originally constructed, has short stone banks emerging from the body of the cairn and as such is similar to the `star-fish' funerary cairns found on Askham Fell in the north east of the Lake District. The two remaining cairnfields are small but sufficiently different from each other as to indicate that they belong to distinct cairnfields. The largest is located some 600m north east of Sampson's Bratfull, is centred at approximately NY10370830, and consists of 25 largely peat-covered cairns. By contrast the smaller cairnfield, located some 500m north east of Sampson's Bratfull and centred at approximately NY10300820, consists of 14 cairns, none of which have much peat cover. This suggests that they were created at different times during the prehistoric period. To the west of this latter cairnfield, and aligned along the highest and most prominent part of the moor, are three large funerary cairns, two of which have been disturbed by unrecorded antiquarian investigation. They vary between 8m-14m in diameter and up to 1.9m high and have been deliberately located so as to be visible from a wide area. The largest funerary cairn on Stockdale Moor is Sampson's Bratfull. It measures 25m by 13.5m and up to 1.7m high and is located at NY09840805 on poorly drained ground in a slight hollow close to the head of a stream. Unrecorded antiquarian investigations and an unrecorded investigation during the 1950s have left a number of depressions in the cairn and a stone spoil heap on the cairn's south western side. The prehistoric remains on Stockdale Moor reflect occupation of the landscape over a long period. The larger funerary cairns in particular have forms similar to excavated funerary cairns dated to the Neolithic or early Bronze Age (about 3000-1500 BC). The ring cairns and smaller funerary cairns scattered amongst the cairnfields are considered from comparison with dated examples elsewhere to be dated approximately to the second millennium BC. Although the remains here attest to considerable prehistoric agricultural activity, only one possible habitation structure has been tentatively suggested. This may be an indication that other dwelling structures were of a non-permanent nature and have not survived as surface evidence.
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