This report describes a complex multi-period landscape in the
pastures around the modern house at Daggerstones, and the ruins
of Bank House (NGR SE015993) above the village of Healaugh on
the north side of Swaledale. The landscape ranges in elevation
from 210m OD to 305m OD and (visually) from Bronze Age mounds
through house platforms and lynchetted coaxial field boundaries
(broadly trending NNW-SSE) of Prehistoric/Romano-British
character, rectangular building platforms, and extant 17th
century ruins, to the sloped array of solar panels behind the
modern house at Daggerstones.
The settlement features of Prehistoric/Romano-British character,
are denser close to a major high-level trackway which broadly
follows the contour and traverses the site from Thirnswood to
Shaw Gill and beyond to the east. This trackway can be traced
along the north slope of the valley from Gunnerside to Reeth.
Features of later character mainly lie downslope close to the
modern village of Healaugh, but Bank House and rectangular
building stances outside the survey area to the east lend weight
to the suggestion that a linear settlement at this elevation may
have preceded the modern concentration of population at the
lower level around Healaugh.
The Daggerstones settlement complex reinforces the conclusion
that the density and distribution of Late Prehistoric/Native
Roman Iron Age farmsteads located within the present day
drystone-walled pastures was similar to that achieved when the
population of farmer-miners in Swaledale was at its peak during
the 19th Century.
The field system associated with the Late
Prehistoric/Romano-British farmsteads was respected by later
farming, and it is clear that the fields were cultivated
intermittently throughout subsequent periods to the present day.
Photograph 2: Google Earth image of
Daggerstones and part of Old Healaugh
Aerial survey by Paul Chadwick of the North Yorkshire County
Council (NYCC) and by Robert White of NYCC and the Yorkshire
Dales National Park, and landscape surveys commenced during the
1970s by T.C. (Tim) Laurie, provided the background to the
Swaledale Land Boundaries Project 1984-1993 (SWALB
Over a ten year period SWALB, directed by Andrew Fleming, then
of the Department of Archaeology and Prehistory at the
University of Sheffield, and Tim Laurie, identified and recorded
rich prehistoric/early historic landscapes in Swaledale,
characterized by extensive co-axial field systems on open
associated with unenclosed
cairnfield type settlements of Bronze Age date. SWALB also
recognized a Later Prehistoric Iron Age and Romano-British
landscape of farms and settlements within the present day
pastures on the lower dale slopes, generally below 300m OD. In
1990, the Yorkshire Vernacular Buildings Study Group surveyed
the ruins of Bank House next to the modern buildings at
Daggerstones (YVBSG Report No. 1306).
Following their work at Hagg Farm (SWAAG Archaeological Report
No. 1), the Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group
(SWAAG), have surveyed the archaeological evidence for human
settlement and other activities within and adjacent to the
walled pastures of Daggerstones Farm, which is located on the
south facing hillside immediately above the present village of
Healaugh (Figure 1).
site is referred to in this report as “Daggerstones”.
SWAAG have recorded the surviving palimpsest of features which
attest to Prehistoric, Romano-British and later human settlement
and other activities at Daggerstones, previously unsurveyed.
Archaeological features within the pastures above Barney Beck in
the vicinity of Thirns, and Nova Scotia farms and in the
pastures above Healaugh immediately east of the moor road,
remain to be surveyed.
In assessing the landscape history and archaeological
significance of Daggerstones, it is necessary to bear in mind
that the surviving archaeological landscape at Daggerstones
forms an integral part of an extensive complex of multi-period
settlements on Calverside which have been identified, surveyed
and discussed during the Swaledale Ancient Land Boundaries
Project and subsequently (Fleming and Laurie 1985-1994; Fleming
1998, Figure 1.5; Laurie et al 2011, Figures 6.1, 6.12-13; and Figure
1 and Figure 2 in this Report).
In brief, evidence for intensive settlement of Prehistoric and
Romano-British character survives within the present day walled
pastures of the lower dale sides and on the higher moorland
across the full length of Cringley Hill, Calver Hill and
Riddings Rigg - from Fore Gill Gate to the Arkengarthdale Road.
This evidence consists of grouped house platforms within
associated strongly lynchetted fields and cultivation terraces.
These settlements are especially concentrated and well preserved
within and above the pastures above Barney Beck, to the west of
Daggerstones, and above Healaugh east of Daggerstones (Figure
Evidence for early settlement has been erased by the heavily
cultivated and terraced pastures immediately west of Reeth
(Reeth Medieval West Field, Fleming (op. cit.) figure 1.3) and also
in the pastures immediately above Healaugh to the east of the
moor road. In contrast, the field boundaries of Late Prehistoric
age which are so prominent on the steep dale slopes above and to
the east of Healaugh (and at Daggerstones)
appear to have been respected during later periods.
High above the present day walled pastures of Calverside- on the
higher open heather slopes of Reeth Low Moor - an early
fossilised landscape survives in the form of stone banked field
systems defined by very substantial stone banks which attain an
elevation of 400m on Cringley Hill and on Calver Hill. Within
these high field systems are extensive remains of earlier Bronze
Age settlements in the form of round burial cairns, ring cairns,
scraper dominated lithic scatters, clearance cairnfields,
irregular stone banked fields, burnt mounds and isolated
circular enclosures. Traces of this early pioneering pastoral
settlement activity also exist at lower elevations within the
walled pastures of the lower dale Sides, as at Daggerstones (see
Fleming (op. cit. p40-44) first recognised and described the
archaeological and place-name evidence for the existence of an
‘Old Healaugh or Daggerston’ above the present village of
Healaugh, with the modern buildings at Daggerstones and the
adjacent ruins of Bank House as surviving dwelling sites within
what was once ‘Old Healaugh’.
Archaeological evidence for Old Healaugh survives in the form of
rectangular buildings plots of Medieval and Post-medieval age
located on and above the line of the contouring trackway from
Thirnswood passing in front of Daggerstones and Bank House to
cross the gated road through Shaw Gill and continuing towards
Riddings and thence to Reeth. Trackways from the higher moorland
address this contouring track rather than the modern road from
Healaugh to the moor. Fleming concluded that ‘Old Healaugh’
predated the present village of Healaugh (“high clearing”), then
a clearing in wood pasture of the Township of Reeth.
Attractive as this suggestion may be, an alternative conclusion
could be that Healaugh is now a shrunken village and was once
more extensive, including ‘Old Healaugh’ consisting of the
substantial farms at Daggerstones and Bank House together with a
series of abandoned farmer-miner cottages on steep marginal land
above the main village. This interpretation is supported by the
fact that the strongly lynchetted fields at Daggerstones and
west of Shaw Gill can be considered as the cultivated fields of
medieval Healaugh located as it exists today.
A further aim of this survey has therefore been to clarify the
evidence for ‘Old Healaugh’ which exists within the survey area.
Figure 1. Reeth Low Moor and Barney Beck
As Laurie 2011 Figure 6.12 but with Daggerstones Study Site
outlined in yellow.
See also Fleming (op. cit.) Figure 9.7 for settlements within the
walled pastures East of Healaugh.
Figure 2: Calverside Settlements: Swaledale Ancient Land
Boundaries Project, Fleming and Laurie (op. cit).
Fourth Interim Report 1987 season. Daggerstones Study Site
outlined in yellow.
The area surveyed lies in enclosed pasture to the North, East
and South of the modern house at Daggerstones and the ruined
Bank House (NGR SE015993) on the north side of Swaledale. The
survey area is bounded on the North and East by the minor road
running north from Healaugh onto Calverside towards Thirns and
Nova Scotia and to the south by the built-up area of Healaugh.
The survey area rises from approximately 210m OD in the
south-east in Ellas Field (OS Field 6111) on the outskirts of
Healaugh to approximately 305 OD where High Pasture Field (OS
Field 3242) abuts the Healaugh-Thirns-Nova Scotia road.
Land-use is predominantly pasture, generally relatively
unimproved on the well-drained upper slopes (which are dissected
by large glacial run-off channels), and more heavily improved
closer to Healaugh with wet, sometimes marshy ground around
spring lines and at the margins by Healaugh.
Survival of ancient field boundaries and settlement sites within
these pastures is generally very good, features being prominent
as visible earthworks in open ground and (in the case of field
boundaries) underlying later dry-stone walls.
Figure 3: Calverside: Healaugh to Reeth
Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and
database right 2011. (Click to enlarge)
Swaledale lies within the northern sector of the Askrigg Block
formed from repeated near-horizontal layers of limestone, shale
and sandstone of the Carboniferous Limestone (Yoredale) Series,
topped with Millstone Grit. The Daggerstones fields mirror this
broad geology, with glacial drift deposits overlying most of the
hard rock strata, forming terraces separated by steeper slopes
sweeping down towards the River Swale flood plain.
The modern house at Daggerstones is built on the Simonstone
Limestone. Behind it is a steep slope of hard sandstone, heavily
fractured and shattered into large blocks which lie in situ
above which are further bands of the series, leading eventually
to the higher Middle Limestone on Calverside.
Springs emerge above impervious shale bands below limestone
strata throughout the site, most strikingly in Low Shorgill
field where a series of spring mounds lie between two largely dry spring watercourses. See Figure: 9
The soil is generally typical brown earth, a well-drained loamy
soil overlying slowly permeable subsoils with slight seasonal
waterlogging. The steep nature of the upper two-thirds of the
site means that soil creep is a significant factor in evaluating
Photograph 3: Daggerstones
from Maiden Castle. Image S P Eastmead 2011.
The SWAAG Daggerstones study records previously unsurveyed human
settlement features with the exception of Bank House
YVBSG (op. cit.)
in a swathe of fields running downslope from the open moorland
on Calverside to the village of Healaugh, ranging in time from
possible Bronze Age features at the moorland edge to medieval
and early-modern features around the modern house at
Daggerstones and around the edge of the village at Healaugh. The
study also makes reference to ancient trees and relict hedgerows
as additional potential indicators of historic vegetation
patterns and landscape use.
Features were surveyed using commercially available good quality
hand-held GPS devices configured to use the British National
Grid and the OSGB36 datum (BNG). These were trialled to test for
accuracy compared with traditional survey methods and tested
against site plans produced by traditional methods. These tests
suggested that in most cases satisfactory accuracy could be
achieved for the purposes of recording the locations of
archaeological features down to approximately 4m to 5m in
diameter. This seems to be at odds with the reported accuracy
displayed on these devices, but that parameter relates to the
accuracy of the waypoint measurement in respect to the BNG
position, and not the relative position of one waypoint to the
next. The grid inaccuracy is insignificant when reducing the
data down to the size of a published map.
The maps produced were generated using a combination of free and
low cost (£20) software using the following stages: GPS
waypoints were downloaded into GPS TrackMaker (freeware) and
lines were drawn connecting appropriate waypoints to describe
both field boundaries and archaeological features.
1) When complete, an image of the final GPS TrackMaker screen
was saved as a .jpg image file.
2) The TrackMaker image was then imported into the graphics
program DrawPlus8, as Layer 1. Additional layers were generated
using functions within DrawPlus8, to produce archaeological maps
by tracing over the baseline GPS TrackMaker Layer 1 using
suitable lines and symbols.
Typically four additional layers were generated:
a. British National Grid
b. Field Boundaries
d. Text Labels
On more complex maps, archaeology was divided into different
layers e.g. Settlements, Mounds and Cairns, Trackways, Lynchets
etc. A full description of the methodology is available at
Note: All SWAAG maps were drawn by S.P. Eastmead using the
Interpretation of earthworks from surface observation is fraught
with risk. Since the descriptions of sites and features which
follow are based on above-ground observation they must be
regarded as provisional pending confirmation by future
excavation. Nevertheless, the experience gained before and
during the SWALB Project which includes the excavation of the
platform settlement above Healaugh (Fleming and Laurie
op. cit. and Fleming
op. cit.) has formed the basis for the
assignment of the prehistoric features in this study to the
Bronze Age and the Late Iron Age/Romano-British periods. Sites
attributed to the medieval or later periods have been so
assigned on the basis of their typology, proximity to known
existing settlement and, in some cases, surface artefactual
5.2 Daggerstones Settlements
For ease of reference settlements are described with reference
to existing walled fields, with note made in the relatively few
cases where the settlement pattern may cross such boundaries.
Site descriptions are ordered broadly north-south and east-west.
The complex of sites in and adjacent to the Daggerstones fields
do not lend themselves easily to interpretation. On the higher
ground in the northern part of the site the features appear
linked to the possible Bronze Age/early Iron Age systems of
Calverside, with a possible extension to the known distribution
of burnt mounds. Within the lower pastures a multi-period
archaeological landscape survives, with a palimpsest of features
which may represent Iron Age/Romano-British settlements,
together with later sites of Medieval/Early modern appearance
and extant 17th century and more recent remains.
5.3 Detailed Site Descriptions
Photograph 4: Daggerstones OS
Field Numbers ©Google Earth 2010
5.3.1 High Pasture (OS Field 3242)
High Pasture field is bisected by a steep scarp below which are
pronounced ice-margin channels. All apparent man-made features
lie above the scarp, and may therefore relate to the settlements
and field systems of Calverside upslope to the North. The modern
road north of the field is bordered by braided trackways of
unknown date attesting to earlier use of the route. Features HP1
to HP4 are cairns. HP1 is a circular mound, 3.5m in diameter,
covered in turf and top soil, presumed to be a small cairn. The
adjacent HP2, 8m in diameter, is the possible remains of a stone
cairn robbed almost to ground level. Above these two features
and across the modern road, HP4 is an undisturbed, heavily
vegetated cairn measuring 6.3m in diameter. HP3 to the east has
the appearance of a slighted ring cairn with a depressed centre,
7.2m in diameter. In the field adjacent to High Pasture to the
west are two further cairns, HP7 and HP8 (not shown on plan), one with
the stone visible and one apparently undisturbed.
Above High Pasture and the modern road are two possible house
platforms. HP5 is a rectangular building base of
Medieval/Most-medieval character 23m x 5m, flanked to the south
by a coal and charcoal scatter but without visible evidence of midden
remains. HP10 is a smaller platform with evidence of a stone
The Daggerstones Antler, a most interesting find. During the
reconstruction of the fine sheep stell HP6 located at the
southern boundary of High Pasture, a well preserved calcined
single antler of a very large red deer was discovered within the
foundation of the stell. Since the antler was placed within the
foundations of the dry stone wall of the stell, and not in the
subsoil below the stell, it seems that this object was placed as
a good luck token by the builders of the stell. Accordingly the
original provenance of this antler is uncertain. In appearance,
it resembles the large antlers recovered from many Neolithic
earthworks and from Late Mesolithic cemeteries.
It would be pure speculation that this antler was found during
the excavation of the foundation trench for the stell and
redeposited. If it was so found, the implications for the
existence of burials contemporary with the antler at this place
would need to be considered. See Section 7.4 for further discussion of
Figure 4: High Pasture (OS Field 3242)
5.3.2 Goose Dubb (OS Field 5033)
Goose Dubb field, which slopes from 273m OD to 254m OD contains
the most complex range of features at Daggerstones. The main W-E
high-level track way GD21 which continues
to the east as HS3 (see High Shorgill) runs through the bottom E
part of the field, from which track GD16 runs NW across the
field above a steep scarp.
A further trackway runs N from the
junction of the main track and track GD16 (see below) to split
as GD19 & GD20
on either side of a steep dry valley and run up to the
modern road from Healaugh to Thirns and Nova Scotia.
Track HS2 (see High Shorgill) enters the field from the E and
appears as GD17 to run NW below a steep sided detached eminence
or hillock above circular platforms GD7 and GD8 to a large
flattened area identified on the plan as a yard. A side track
GD18 leaves this extension of GD17 to run up to artificially
levelled summit of the eminence which is the location for a
circular embanked feature, GD1, provisionally identified as a
Track GD16 leaves to the NW from the main track, passes between
slight platforms GD14 and GD15 (both possible levelled building
stances) then along the crest of the pronounced break of slope
and below platforms GD6-8 and continues through what has the
appearance of a pre-enclosure wall as a hollow-way in the
direction of the fragmented scarp and woodland above
Figure 5: Goose Dubb (OS Field 5033)
Photograph 5: Medieval pottery sherd (approx. 30x40mm)
found at position
X north west of GD1
Settlement features in Goose Dubb must be assessed with caution
because the site appears to have been intensively used for many
centuries in connection with the farm at Bank House on its
southern edge. The current remains of Bank House have been dated
to the 17th century on possible earlier foundations, and
medieval records contain a reference in 1301 to “Ralph of the
Bank”. In the north-west of the field lie four circular/ovoid
platforms which appear to be scooped into the steep hillside.
Below them lie two flat/flattened areas described on the plan as
yards, either or both of which could also be interpreted as
stances for rectangular buildings. The easternmost has slight
scarps on its north and west sides. To the south of the yards is
the large natural mound at GD1, with steep outer slopes and a
possible embanked summit with a slightly indented centre, to
which leads a track through a possible E entrance. Further west,
above GD16, platforms GD7 and GD8 appear scooped into the
hillside on their northern edge and utilize the steep natural
slope to their south. Below track GD16 and the very pronounced
scarp on which it stands are two circular platforms GD9/10
slightly scooped into the hillside (GD10 could possibly be the
remains of the goose pond from which the field derives its
name), a strong spring with significant features around it
suggestive of medieval/modern water-control, a modern walled
stone dump GDS13, and a large ovoid platform GD11 with
pronounced slopes falling away to the south. This could be
interpreted as a yard relating to GD9/10 or to Bank House. Two
stones (GD12) set in the earth with a narrow gap between are
possible supports for a circular grindstone for knives or other
types of blade.
5.3.3 Daggerstones Close (OS Field 3625)
Daggerstones Close field lies below the modern house and gardens
at Daggerstones. It contains much-disturbed slight features,
DC1-6, both circular and rectangular. These features may relate
to or predate the current house and its predecessor.
Figure 6: Daggerstones Close (OS Field 3625)
5.3.4 Croft (OS Field 5520)
Croft field is bisected NNW to SSE by the trackway to the modern
house at Daggerstones which lies atop a pronounced lynchet CR1.
Long stretches of the west and east walls are built atop and
respect slighter lynchets parallel to CR1, CR5 and CR6 for the
west wall and a complex series of lynchets under and beside the
east wall. The east wall lies on a lynchet representing one
phase of land use, but is bounded on its eastern side by a
lynchet apparently older than the lynchet on which it stands,
and by a further slight lynchet on its western side. Three
lynchets, CR2, CR4 and CR6 run at right angles to the lynchets
mentioned above. The south wall of the field lies atop lynchet
CR4. At the foot of the field between CR2 and CR4 is a burnt
mound CR3 and slight evidence of a possible settlement site.
Figure 7: Croft (OS Field 5520)
5.3.5 High Shorgill (OS Field 6028)
High Shorgill is bisected in its upper half by the pronounced
NW-SE trackway HS3 which is part of the possible high-level
routeway running along the contour on the north side of the
Swale valley which can be traced along a combination of paths,
green lanes, and modern roads and tracks from Reeth to
Gunnerside. The track is certainly pronounced from Daggerstones
House and Bank House through this field where it lies above a
slight scarp or lynchet then becomes a deep hollow-way or
cutting at its eastern end, and on to the east across Shaw Gill
to become a green lane below a series of possible miner-farmer
house platforms, and is the route which Andrew Fleming has
suggested may be the main street of the linear settlement of Old
Figure 8: High Shorgill (OS Field 6028)
High Shorgill is bisected NNW-SSE by the pronounced bank or
lynchet HS8 with a slighter lynchet cut into its western face.
The west wall lies above lynchet HS9 which runs parallel to HS8
and part of the north wall appears to lie above lynchet HS5.
A circular/ovoid platform HS1 and a natural
knoll lie in the north-west corner of the field above a
trackway HS2 leading to the complex settlement features in Goose
Dubb (OS Field 5033). HS2 is not visible at its E end but could
reasonably be expected to have joined the main track HS3.
A large trapezoidal platform HS4 lies north of the main track
HS3, and two platforms HS6 and HS7, either ovoid or rectangular
but slightly obscured by soil-creep, adjoin it to the south.
5.3.6 Low Shorgill (OS Field 6618)Low Shorgill field
contains two parallel NNW-SSE lynchets: LS7 on which is built
the northern part of the west wall, and LS1 which bisects the
field and turns to the east below the settlement platforms
LS4-LS6, and above a strikingly marshy area at the bottom of the
field. LS1 steepens to the north and runs through the field wall
after which it is numbered HS8. LS1 is flanked on west by a
slight lynchet at its base. The western wall curves to the east
in its lower half, apparently respecting the curving lynchet LS8
which appears to be a continuation of LS7.
Figure 9: Low Shorgill (OS Field 6618)
The group of much slighted possible house platforms LS4-6 lie
below a slight lynchet or scooped slope to their north and above
the curve of lynchet LS1 to their west and south.
A striking aspect of Low Shorgill is the string of mounds beside
two spring courses in its eastern half, running from springs
rising at or close to the north field wall. What appear to be at
least five spring mounds lie between the two spring channels,
with two turfed over stone mounds LS2 and LS3 located just below
the confluence of the two spring courses. These two mounds have
been proved to be composed of burnt stone and are interpreted as
a burnt mound site.
5.3.7 Cowling Acre (OS Field 4321)
The east wall of Cowling Acre sits on the downslope of a
pronounced lynchet, CR6 (numbered for the adjacent Croft field),
with a relict wall to the west above a slight lynchet CA2. The
eastern part of the south wall lies on the downslope of lynchet
CA7. In the western part of the field, parallel to CR6 is a
slighter lynchet CA8 which includes relict hawthorn CA6. CA5 is
a levelled platform which may be the stance for a rectangular
building. CA1 and CA9 are clearance cairns, and the ovoid
features CA3 and CA4 either side of the spring are of unknown
Figure 10: Cowling Acre (OS Field 4321)
5.3.8 Hallgarth (North) (OS Field 4215)
Hallgarth (North) is bisected by an active spring in a
steep-sided valley, leading to a marshy area. There is evidence
of herringbone drainage channels above the marsh, of unknown
date. Two conjoined sub-rectangular features, HN1 and HN2 with a
further adjoining slight sub-rectangular feature, all of unknown
date, lie in the higher north-west corner of the field. These
conjoined features may prove to be the remains of an early
homestead settlement. There is a large west-facing lynchet in
the adjoining field to the West, not surveyed.
Figure 11: Hallgarth (North) (OS Field 4215)
5.3.9 Hallgarth (South) (OS Field 4808)
Hallgarth South may prove to contain a most interesting area of
surviving archaeological remains with visible stone structures
which represent a range of rectangular buildings at the lower
southern end of the field. Two possible circular platforms, HS1,
are located at the north-east corner, one cut by a field wall.
HS3 is the remains of a collapsed barn. HS4 and HS5 stand beside
a thick field wall, 1.5m wide which they appear to pre-date.
Written records refer to a hunting lodge of John of Gaunt named
Hall Garth in the general area of Healaugh but without
excavation it is impossible to say whether the extant remains
and the field name preserve the physical location of the hunting
lodge or merely the folk memory that such a place existed in the
Figure 12: Hallgarth (South) (OS Field 4808)
5.3.10 Low Close (OS Field 5214)
Low Close field contains an active spring stream running through
a shallow valley along its western side. Its northern wall,
bounding Cowling Acre sits on the downslope of lynchet CA7 (see
Cowling Acre). The east wall traverses a long NNW-SSE lynchet
which decreases in height to the south. The northern part of
this wall lies on the downslope of lynchet CR6 (see Croft) and
below the traverse the wall lies above the lynchet continuation
numbered as LC7.
LC1 and LC2 have the appearance of stances for two rectangular
timber structures (a possible dwelling site) on a low platform
which abuts lynchet LC7 on its western side. These features are
associated and relate to the substantial lynchet field boundary
which appears to have been stone face revetted at the eastern
end of the platform which abuts the lynchet.
Excavation of these platforms and determination of the
structural relationship with the lynchet offers an opportunity
to obtain evidence for the chronology of the lynchetted field
system. LC3/4/5/6 are unexplained features.
Figure 13: Low Close (OS Field 5214)
5.3.11 Ellas (OS Field 6111)
Ellas field, which lies on the edge of the modern village of
Healaugh, is cut by the modern access road from the house at
Daggerstones and contains an active spring flanked by a possible
spring mound. Its north-west wall, shared with Croft field (OS
Field 5520) lies on the downslope of lynchet CR4 (see Croft) and
the north-east wall shared with Low Shorgill (OS Field 6618)
sits below the top of curving lynchet LS8 (see Low Shorgill). It
contains two unexplained raised mound features: EL1 located at
the upper edge of the marsh, a location characteristic of burnt
mounds, and EL2. Burnt stone has not been recognised at EL1
which is wholly vegetated, but a second burnt mound site here
has not yet been ruled out.
Perhaps the most visible and constant
features to be seen within the present day dry-stone walled
pastures of Daggerstones Farm are the stongly lynchetted or
embanked terrace-like boundaries which run downslope through the
fields and also directly beneath the dry-stone walls of the
present day. These lynchets are the product of cultivation
against a boundary (i.e. hoe or oxen drawn plough cultivation)
of the steep but fertile daleside above Healaugh during very
many centuries, perhaps millennia. Many of the lynchet slopes
show evidence of re-cutting, implying observance of earlier
boundaries already established.
Figure 14: Ellas (OS Field 6111)
The lynchet boundaries define a pattern of fields which extends
across the whole of the daleside north of Healaugh. Individual
fields may be visible as narrow strips running obliquely to the
slope as with the prominent examples in the steep field
immediately to the east of the modern Moor Road. Alternatively
these fields can be seen as comparatively wide level areas, true
fields, as for example the field formed between LS1, LS7 and LS8
in Low Shorgill Field (Figure 9).
The date of the origins of these lynchetted field boundaries is
of considerable interest. One of us (T.C.L.) has observed that
the small house platforms and the larger farmstead-size
settlement platforms of Late Iron Age and Native Roman Age
located within the present day walled pastures above Healaugh
are also directly associated with the lynchet boundaries.
Furthermore, that the cultivation processes which had formed the
lynchets had not slighted the group of six platforms North of
Healaugh, one of which was excavated during the SWALB Project
and dated to the Late Iron Age through to the period of Roman
occupation.(Fleming op. cit., Fleming and Laurie op. cit.)
Thus, the evidence suggests that the lynchet boundaries have
their origins within the Late Iron Age and also that these
fields were occupied, abandoned and reoccupied throughout all
subsequent periods until finally enclosed within the
stone-walled pastures of today.
In their final form these lynchetted fields would have provided
the bread and butter, the basic livelihood of the farmer miners
of Healaugh and Old Healaugh throughout the medieval and
historic period right up to the enclosure Acts of the Late 18th
It may seem strange that the lynchets run downslope and are not
generally on the contour, as for example the prominent lynchet
terraces of Reeth West Field. Surely every shower of rain would
wash the topsoil downslope. Be this as it may, the fields do run
downslope and perhaps were easier to cultivate by hand or by
The small settlements located in Goose Dub Field (Figure 5) and
within High and Low Shorgill (Figures 8 and 9) are either
directly associated with the lynchet boundaries or are well
situated to be associated with these early fields.
Finally, the extensive complex of platform settlements and
cultivation terraces located within the walled pastures above
Barney Beck and also extending to the high open moorland to the
west of Thirns and above Nova Scotia are directly associated
with the coaxial field systems of mid Iron Age Date on
Calverside West (Laurie, T.C. et al, 2011, Figure 6.14 Locations
There are indications of the existence of a coaxial field system
associated with the early settlements at Daggerstones on the
open moorland directly above High Pasture and Goose Dub Fields.
Further fieldwork will be necessary to confirm this.
7.1 Trees and Hedges
Trees and hedges in this study area will be the subject of a
separate report. It is increasingly recognized that ancient
trees and hedgerows may preserve aspects of early landscape
boundaries which are otherwise obscured by later
developments, or that their presence along the line of later
boundaries indicates that such boundaries respect their
predecessors. While no individual tree or bush may date to
the earliest boundary, self-seeding and regeneration may
well preserve a boundary line predating all current markers.
That said, some trees present in the survey area, notably
elm pollards (Fleming
) may well take us back to the
medieval or early modern landscape, as would the relict
Sycamore and dry stone wall, Daggerstones. A sketch
The aspen grove at the top of Croft field (5.3.4),
(Photograph: 6 and Figure: 17)
comprises the cloned
ramets or ongrown root sucker shoots which are the offspring
of an older mother tree. Whereas these aspens are not
individually old, this cloned colony could represent
continuous regeneration of the same tree and thus represent
a vestige of ancient woodland.
16: Remnant of ancient Wych Elm pollard, now dead
from Dutch Elm Disease.
A sketch by Jocelyn Campbell.
Click image to enlarge.
|Figure 17: Aspens. Mother tree
and her offspring.
A sketch by Jocelyn Campbell.
Click image to enlarge.
Photograph 6: Aspens: Looking from field 5.3.5 High
Shorgill (OS Field 6028) south west
to the top of field
5.3.4 Croft (OS Field 5520). Image Tim Laurie 2010.
Mounds found within the survey area have the appearance of field
clearance mounds, a possible small ring cairn, burnt mounds, or
natural spring mounds. No definite evidence exists for burial
mounds (barrow mounds).
7.3 Trackways / Pathways
As detailed above, the settlements described in Section 5 lie
astride the major W-E high-level trackway along the North side
of the Swale valley. Minor trackways, usually in the form of
slight hollow ways, were present, associated with and within the
settlements, and generally respecting the “main road”. Because
of the multi-period nature of the site, it is not possible from
landscape survey evidence alone to determine whether particular
trackways relate to Prehistoric/Romano-British settlement or to
later activity. This is especially true of the quite dense
network of tracks in Goose Dubb field, where proximity to what
may have been a substantial Medieval/Early-modern/Modern farm at
Bank House makes analysis difficult without intrusive
7.4 Other finds
A sherd of Medieval/Early-modern green glaze pottery
(Photograph: 5 and Figure: 5) was found
in Goose Dubb at the foot of the western bank below GD1.
A fossilized (calcined) antler was found in the footing of
the walled enclosure, possibly a lambing pen, shown as HP6 on
the High Pasture map (5.3.1 above). It seems unlikely that the
antler is in its original position but it could have been
re-buried where it was found when the wall was rebuilt at some
unknown date. SWAAG will attempt to have the antler dated, on
the clear understanding that while the antler appears to be far
larger than modern specimens, calcination can occur very rapidly
and may not indicate great antiquity.
Photograph 7: Jeremy Morrogh-Ryan holding the calcined red deer
antler with a much smaller
modern red deer trophy antler for comparison. Image Tim Laurie
Section 8 (Discussion and Interim Conclusions) of
SWAAG Archaeological Report No. 1 (op. cit.) rehearsed the
historiography of our knowledge and interpretation of Late-prehistoric/Romano-British settlement in the Yorkshire Dales,
and the work of Laurie and others in revolutionizing the
traditional picture of a poor, lightly populated and marginal
area. It also speculated on the nature of Late-prehistoric and
Romano-British society and the economy in Swaledale.
Our survey evidence suggests that
Prehistoric and Romano-British settlement and activity on the
Daggerstones site accords well with the picture presented by
Laurie, Fleming and the
SWALB (op. cit.), with unenclosed settlement situated within
an organized framework of co-axial field systems (itself broadly
aligned with more extensive and possibly earlier systems on the
moorland above). In particular the site lies on and respects a
major, though undated, route-way along the northern dale-side. A
clearer picture can, however, only emerge through further work
including targeted excavation.
The Post-Roman and Medieval/Modern
dimensions of Daggerstones also requires further study. The site
was clearly actively used. The evidence on the site and in
adjacent areas suggests both agricultural and mining activity in
the Medieval, Early-modern and Modern periods. The site is close
to mining areas on the moorland above, and linked to the moor by
A major area for study is the relationship
between the Daggerstones area as a site pre-dating (if Fleming
is right) the later village of Healaugh, and the decline of
Daggerstones and ascent of Healaugh, and whether the apparent
rectangular structures in the lower fields at Daggerstones
belong to “new” Healaugh as a shrunken village, or to
Daggerstones as “Old Healaugh” or to an intermediate phase of
Next Steps: Surveying of adjacent areas around the current focus
of this report will help to delimit the full extent of the
surveyed field systems and settlements and place them within the
broader context of the Prehistoric landscape of Swaledale. In
particular, more work on higher ground to the north of the
current survey area to expand upon Tim Laurie’s pioneering work
on Calverside could help to elucidate continuity of settlement
on the broader site over time. More work is also advisable on
Medieval and Post-medieval features east and west of the current
study area along the track running East-West through the site.
More detailed focus on trackways could help to indicate how
settlements in general were inter-related, whether the main
communications routes were linear along the valley sides and
whether there were links to the valley bottom in this period.
Only intrusive excavation offers the prospect of more precise
dating within the broad time-frame of Bronze Age/Iron Age/
Romano-British/Medieval/Modern dating, and thus of attempting to
understand how the evidence identified in this survey relates to
the broader issues of the rural economy of Swaledale through
Photograph 8: View of 5.3.6 Low Shorgill (OS Field
6618) from near gate. LS4 in foreground. Image Tim
Photograph 9: 5.3.5 High
Shorgill (OS Field 6028) Looking south east at platform
Trackway HS2 on extreme right.
Image Tim Laurie 2010.
Photograph 10: 5.3.5 High
Shorgill (OS Field 6028) Looking south east from knoll
at HS4 and HS5.
Image Tim Laurie 2010.
Photograph 11: 5.3.2 Goose
Dubb (OS Field 5033) looking south east at GD1 with
Trackway GD17 on right.
Image Tim Laurie 2010.
Photograph 12: 5.3.2 Goose Dubb (OS Field 5033) Bank
with trackway GD16 in the foreground. Image S P
Photograph 13: 5.3.2 Goose Dubb (OS Field 5033)
Looking south east at GD6
with trackway GD17 around
south of knoll at top left.
Image S P Eastmead 2010.
Photograph 14: 5.3.10 Low Close (OS Field 5214) View
from near LC3 towards LC2 and LC1 looking north east.
Image S P Eastmead 2010.
Photograph 15: 5.3.10 Low Close (OS Field 5214) View
from the South looking North.
Left of spring LS3 (foreground),
then LC4 and LC5. On
right side of spring towards the top left side of LC2.
Image S P Eastmead 2010.
All 11 of the survey maps can be download as high quality pdf
files and .jpg images
Figure 18: Map 1846-1863
Figure 19: Map 1899-1899
Figure 20: Map 1907-1924
Figure 21: Map showing the rich supply of spring
The Authors and SWAAG wish to acknowledge and express their
thanks to Mr and Mrs Jeremy Morrogh-Ryan for their kind
permission to survey the archaeological landscapes on their farm
and for their enthusiastic support.
The OS Street View maps are supplied under the OS
Open Data licence.
A fuller bibliography relevant to
Prehistoric and Romano-British topics can be found at Appendix
5 in SWAAG Archaeological Report No.1 [http://www.swaag.org/publicationsSWAAG02.htm]
Fleming, Andrew, 1998 (reprinted 2010,
Oxbow Books). Swaledale: Valley of the Wild River.
Keele University Press
Fleming, Andrew and Laurie, Tim,
1984-1993. Annual Interim Reports of the Swaledale Ancient Land
Boundaries (SWALB) Project [http://www.swaag.org/publications_TimLaurie_InterimReports.htm]
Laurie, T.C., 1984. An Enclosed
Settlement near East Mellwaters Farm, Bowes, Co
Archaeological Journal 1, pp 35-9
Laurie, T.C., 1985.
Early Land Division and Settlement in
Swaledale and on the eastern approaches to the Stainmore Pass
over the North Pennines, in Upland Settlement in Britain: the
Second Millennium B.C. and after, ed. Don Spratt and Colin
Burgess, BAR British Series 143, pp. 135-162. [http://www.swaag.org/publicationsTL2.htm
Laurie, T.C., 2003. Researching the
prehistory of Wensleydale, Swaledale and Teesdale, in The
Archaeology of Yorkshire: an assessment at the beginning of the
21st century ed. T.G. Manby, Stephen Moorhouse and
Patrick Ottaway, Yorkshire Archaeological Society Occasional
Paper No.3 pp 223-254. [http://www.swaag.org/publicationsTL4.htm]
Laurie, T.C., 2004. Springs, Woods and
Transhumance: reconstructing a Pennine Landscape during Later
Prehistory in Landscapes Volume 5 No. 1, Windgather Press,
Spring 2004 pp 73-102. [http://www.swaag.org/publicationsTL5.htm]
Laurie, T.C. with Mahaffy N.W. and White, R.F.
2011. Coaxial field systems in Swaledale: a reassessment
following recent fieldwork. In R.D. Martlew, Ed. Prehistory in
the Yorkshire Dales recent research and future prospects.
PLACE/Yorkshire Dales Landscape Research Trust. [http://www.swaag.org/publicationsTL15CFS.htm]
Tim Laurie, Stephen Eastmead and Peter Denison-Edson
2010. Swaledale and Arkengarthdale
Archaeology Group (SWAAG). Archaeological Report No.1, An Iron
Age/Romano-British landscape at Hagg Farm [http://www.swaag.org/publicationsSWAAG02.htm]
YVBSG, 1990. Yorkshire Vernacular Buildings Study Group Report
no. 1306: Bank House, Healaugh, Reeth, North Yorkshire.
||Reeth Low Moor and Barney Beck Pastures.
As Laurie 2011 Figure 6.12 but with
Daggerstones Study Site outlined in yellow.
See also Fleming 1998 Figure 9.7 for
settlements within the walled pastures East
||Calverside Settlements: Swaledale
Ancient Land Boundaries Project, Andrew
Fleming and Tim Laurie, Fourth Interim
Report 1987 season. Daggerstones Study Site
outlined in yellow.
||Calverside: Healaugh to Reeth
settlment area. Contains Ordnance Survey
data © Crown copyright and database right
||High Pasture (OS Field 3242)
||Goose Dubb (OS Field 5033)
||Daggerstones Close (OS Field 3625)
||Croft (OS Field 5520)
||High Shorgill (OS Field 6028)
||Low Shorgill (OS Field 6618)
||Cowling Acre (OS Field 4321)
||Hallgarth (North) (OS Field 4215)
||Hallgarth (South) (OS Field 4808)
||Low Close (OS Field 5214)
||Ellas (OS Field 6111)
||Sycamore and dry stone wall,
Daggerstones. A sketch by Jocelyn Campbell.
||Remnant of ancient Wych Elm
pollard, now dead from Dutch Elm Disease. A
sketch by Jocelyn Campbell.
||Aspens. Mother tree and her
offspring. A sketch by Jocelyn Campbell.
||Map showing the rich supply of
||Daggerstones and Bank House ruins at the
bottom of Goose Dubb.
||Google Earth image of Daggerstones and
part of Old Healaugh
||Daggerstones from Maiden Castle. Image S
P Eastmead 2011.
||Daggerstones OS Field Numbers
||Medieval pottery sherd (approx. 30x40mm)
found at position X north west of GD1
||Aspens: Looking from field 5.3.5 High
Shorgill (OS Field 6028) south west at the
top of field 5.3.4 Croft (OS Field 5520).
Image Tim Laurie 2010.
||Jeremy Morrogh-Ryan holding the calcined
red deer antler with a much smaller modern
red deer trophy antler for comparison. Image
Tim Laurie 2010.
||View of 5.3.6 Low Shorgill (OS Field
6618) from near gate. LS4 in foreground.
Image Tim Laurie 2010.
||5.3.5 High Shorgill (OS Field 6028)
Looking south east at platform HS1. Trackway
HS2 on extreme right. Image Tim Laurie 2010.
||5.3.5 High Shorgill (OS Field 6028) Looking
south east from knoll at HS4 and HS5.
||5.3.2 Goose Dubb (OS Field 5033) Looking
south east at GD1 with Trackway GD17 on right.
Image Tim Laurie 2010.
||5.3.2 Goose Dubb (OS Field 5033) Bank House
with trackway GD16 in the foreground. Iamge S P
||5.3.2 Goose Dubb (OS Field 5033) Looking
south east at GD6 with trackway GD17 around
south of knoll at top left. Image S P Eastmead
||5.3.10 Low Close (OS Field 5214) View from
near LC3 towards LC2 and LC1 looking north east.
Image S P Eastmead 2010.
||5.3.10 Low Close (OS Field 5214) View from
the South looking North. Left of spring LS3
(foreground), then LC4 and LC5. On right side of
spring towards the top left side of LC2. Image S
P Eastmead 2010.