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Viewing website implies consent to set cookies on your computer. Full details Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group
Registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation Number 1155775
SWAAG Honorary President:
Tim Laurie FSA

Report: pdf version (11.8MB)       Maps: A4 pdf version (15.5MB)      

The Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group  (SWAAG) 
Archaeological Report No. 1 

The Fremington Project
An Iron Age/Romano-British Landscape at Hagg Farm 

Tim Laurie, Stephen Eastmead and Peter Denison-Edson
21st July 2010

Figure 1: Hagg Farm site from Fremington looking towards Reels Head.
Photo: S. Eastmead 11/11/2009


This report describes an open settlement landscape of Late Prehistoric/Romano-British character centred on the pastures of Hagg Farm, Fremington, near Reeth in Swaledale. These ancient settlements of small farms and fields are centred at West Hagg, SE055989, 240m OD, but also extend across the pastures of the adjacent modern farms of Sorrel Sykes above Ewelop Hill and of Marrick Priory Farm to the south of the Fremington to Marske road (unsurveyed).

The settlement complex comprises nine small separate farmsteads, located at intervals within a contemporary coaxial field system, on rising ground above the Swale flood plain east of the junction of Arkle Beck and the River Swale (Figure 2).


Figure 2: Hagg Farm site shown in Google Earth with GPS archaeology overlay.

The field system is defined by by strongly lynchetted or stone-banked coaxial field boundaries (i.e. with parallel boundaries sharing a common axis) aligned at right angles to the slope on a WSW-ENE axis (Figure 3).


Figure 3: Hagg Farm and Ewelop Sites.

These settlements are as yet undated by excavation. However the whole complex closely resembles the Late Prehistoric/ Romano-British settlement landscape above and east of Healaugh, surveyed and excavated during the Swaledale Ancient Land Boundaries Project (SWALB), (Fleming and Laurie, Third Interim Report, 1986 Season et seq.) []

A second coaxial field system (201) aligned on a different SW-NE axis extends upslope to reach 350m OD at Reels Head. This second field system can also be regarded as contemporary with the settlement complex at Hagg Farm (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Hagg Farm map – Reels Head section showing coaxial field system 201.

It has not proved possible to associate these coaxial field systems with the coaxial field system on Copperthwaite Allotment (Figures 5, 39, 41 and 42) to the NE of Fremington. This latter field system, which was surveyed during 1985, is aligned on a different, NNE-SSW, axis and is associated with a settlement complex of Bronze Age character located at a much higher elevation, generally above 400m OD, on and immediately below Fremington Edge.

See Section 6: Field Systems for a brief description of these Bronze Age settlements and the associated coaxial field system which extends across Marrick Moor, Copperthwaite Allotment and beyond (Fleming and Laurie, Second Interim Report, 1985 Season and Laurie 2003). 

The Hagg Farm 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.                                    


1. Introduction

Aerial survey by Paul Chadwick of the North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and by Robert White of NYCC and the Yorkshire Dales National Park, together with landscape surveys commenced during the 1970s by T.C. (Tim) Laurie, led to the formation of 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 moorland above the limit of present day walled pastures and 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 April 1997, Ed Dennison Associates (EDAS), commissioned by English Heritage and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, completed an archaeological survey and report of Hagg Farm, Fremington, Swaledale which identified over 90 features of historic and archaeological interest within the 69 hectares of Hagg Farm, and recommended more intensive survey of many of the features, principally boundaries and possible farmstead sites visible as earthworks, which they had recorded as prehistoric/early mediaeval in date.

 While the archaeology of Hagg Farm had not been included within the area surveyed by the SWALB Project, subsequent walk-overs by Tim Laurie together with desk-top research using Google Earth suggested that the area in the western part of the farm, around the house at West Hagg, would repay more intensive study, building on the EDAS report. From July 2009 Tim Laurie led site ‘walk-overs’ with members of the newly formed Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group (SWAAG), who subsequently surveyed the surface archaeology present on Hagg Farm land.


2. Location and Geology 

The settlement complex centred on the West Hagg farmhouse occupies the western part of Hagg Farm which lies on the north side of Swaledale, between Low Fremington and Marrick, centred on NGR SE 060990. Hagg Farm is bounded to the south by the Low Fremington to Marrick road up to Reels Head, and to the north by Fremington Edge, rising from approximately 200m OD in the south-west below West Hagg to approximately 410m OD above Fremington Edge. Land-use is predominantly meadow with rough pasture on higher ground to the north. 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 5: Fremington Project Study Area

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 lower slopes of Hagg Farm and the pastures above Ewelop Hill mirror this broad geology, with glacial drift deposits overlying the hard rock strata, forming terraces separated by steeper slopes sweeping down towards the River Swale flood plain.  

Hagg Farm lies on the line of the Stockdale Fault which drags down the Main and Underset Limestones which form the scarp of Fremington Edge at 400m OD towards the road at Reels Head at 250m OD.  (Figures 1 & 6). 

Figure 6: Fremington Edge, from Jabz Cave towards Reels Head.
Photo: S. Eastmead 11/11/2009

The soil is generally typical brown earth, a well-drained loamy soil overlying slowly permeable subsoils with slight seasonal waterlogging. The sloping nature of the site means that soil creep is a significant factor in assessing the size and extent of settlement features. 


3. Study Definition

The SWAAG Hagg Farm study aims to carry out a large scale survey of features in part recognized and delineated on a smaller scale by EDAS and by Laurie in his work on field systems and settlement patterns in the area. The current phase of the Project concentrates on Hagg Farm and has been extended to include the prominent scooped settlements north of Ewelop Hill (Site 104) together with adjacent areas to the west of the farm boundary recognizing that the archaeological remains underlie current landholding boundaries and modern field patterns.


Figure 7:  The Main Limestone at Fell End, Fremington Edge.  Photo: R Carter 14/12/2009

It is intended that the Hagg Farm Survey and the Fremington Project (the working title for a series of current and future surveys of the land above and below the length of Fremington Edge) will include records of ancient trees and relict hedgerows as additional potential indicators of historic vegetation patterns and landscape use (Figure 7).


4. The Survey

Features were surveyed using commercially available good quality hand-held GPS
devices configured to use the British National Grid (BNG) and the OSGB36 datum. 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 co-ordinates, 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 A4 map. The maps are scaled to be viewed as an A4 document (see link below).

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 suitably configured lines and symbols in conjunction with the feature description from the survey log and the survey photographs.

Typically four additional layers were generated:
     a.      British National Grid
     b.      Field Boundaries
     c.      Archaeology
     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   All SWAAG maps were drawn by S.P. Eastmead using this technique. A print friendly A4 version of the SWAAG Maps is available at


5. Settlements

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 during the excavation of the platform settlement above Healaugh (Fleming and Laurie, SWALB Interim Reports, and Fleming 1998), which was morphologically very similar to those described below, has formed the basis for the assignment of the settlements and the field system centred at West Hagg to the Late Iron Age/Romano-British period.


Figure 8: West Hagg pastures from the south. Photo: S. Eastmead 11/11/2009

Furthermore, there was no evidence for later settlement activity, including reoccupation of the platform settlements. Nor did this survey identify any structure of rectangular plan which are so characteristic of medieval settlement. This is not to say that the field system was not reoccupied and cultivated throughout subsequent centuries, as it most certainly was. 

Settlements are usually within enclosures defined by lynchet boundaries which occasionally show sections of stonework. It can be assumed that these lynchetted boundaries were originally stone revetted and subsequently quarried out to provide material for stone walling. Similarly the house platforms, made by cutting into the hillslope and using the excavated material to fill and level the front edge of the platform, are also defined by a rear scarp and front apron. 

Hagg Farm Settlements
The survey identified nine platform settlements located within the present pastures of Hagg Farm and Sorrel Sykes Farm. Settlements sites 100 to 107 are directly associated with coaxial field system 200 which is defined by strongly lynchetted and stone embanked boundaries. The settlements together with the field system form an open ‘township’ or village-type settlement, with settlements situated at intervals within their contemporary fields running down towards the flood plain. Similarly, settlement site 108 is associated with coaxial field system 201. It is considered that all the farmstead settlements were occupied during the same general period. 

The close similarity between this dispersed ‘township’ landscape to that of the settlement to the east of Healaugh (Fleming and Laurie1983-1994, Fleming 1998), together with occasional finds of Roman pottery sherds (Figure 23) and the two beehive quern-stones from stone walls near West Hagg (Figure 47), supports the supposition that this settlement complex was probably established during the Late Prehistoric Iron Age; with occupation extending through the period of the Roman Occupation. 

The platforms all seem to have supported circular structures, and there is no direct surface evidence in the form of rectangular stone founded buildings or finds of medieval pottery sherds to indicate medieval reoccupation of these settlement sites. 

Nevertheless, the Hagg Farm and Sorrel Sykes Pastures are among the best areas of cultivated land in mid-Swaledale. It would be wrong to conclude anything other than these pastures have been cultivated at intervals throughout recorded history. The height of the lynchetted field boundaries supports a very lengthy period of occupation. 

The presence of very slight lynchets close to the base of the earlier lynchets together with scattered sherds of 19C transfer decorated pottery points to short periods of recent cultivation.

The Settlement Sites (Figures 9 & 10)
The nine hill-slope platform settlements at Hagg Farm are interpreted as family farms or homesteads. They bear a strong resemblance to the enclosed platform settlements, whether scooped, curvilinear, rectangular or linear in plan, so widespread across upland northern Britain, whose occupation has been shown to extend from the prehistoric Iron Age through the period of Roman Occupation (Frodsham 2004).


Figure 9: Google Earth view of main settlements on Hagg Farm.

They compare most notably to those of Teesdale above High Force (Coggins and Fairless 1980) and those near Bowes, (Laurie 1984). Further north, on the fringe of the Cheviots, a similar but larger settlement in the College Valley at Hetha Burn was excavated by Colin Burgess in the 1970s. Here multi-period occupation was shown to have extended from the prehistoric Iron Age through to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. (Burgess, C., 1984 cited by Frodsham, P., 2004).  

Three of the settlements at Hagg Farm (Sites 101,103 and 104) are somewhat larger than the others and may represent rather more substantial farmsteads.  

Site 101 possesses at least one visible stone founded round house, and may be compared to the well preserved unexcavated enclosed farmstead settlement located on the south bank of Sleightholme Beck near East Mellwaters Farm, which is just one mile west of the Roman fort and vicus at Bowes. This settlement with three round houses has to be considered as prehistoric Iron Age rather than of Roman date in view of the lack of pottery finds. (Laurie 1984).  

Site 103 is the most significant settlement at Hagg Farm showing a more regular and developed site plan. This settlement may represent higher status, Romanised, influences.

Site 104 comprises two conjoined house platforms fronting a sunken yard within an enclosure which is deeply scooped for shelter into the steep hillslope above Ewelop Hill.


Figure 10: Google Earth view of Ewelop settlement sites to the north of Ewelop Hill

Such scooped platform settlements are a recognised and widespread settlement type throughout Northern Britain, and are present elsewhere in Swaledale with examples above Healaugh and at Low Whita (Fleming 1998). 

A caveat on the dating of earthworks from their morphology arises from the fact that the enclosing ditch of a scooped rectangular settlement complex earthwork at Gayles Lane, Hawes excavated by Percival Turnbull was dated to the early medieval period (Turnbull 1986).                                                                                                                                                               


Settlement 100:  West Hagg Front Field.   (Figures 11, 12 & 13)
Is an enclosed hill slope platform settlement comprising a total of seven ovoid or circular platforms (100/01 to 100/07) within a narrow elongate triangular shaped enclosure measuring some 50m by 25m. A further platform (100/08) is located to the east of this enclosure.


Figure 11: Google Earth view of West Hagg Front Field Site 100.

Figure 12: West Hagg Front Field Site 100 map.

The enclosure is approached from the south and east by a narrow trackway and is bounded on the west side by a substantial lynchet scarp, averaging 2m high, surmounted by a modern field wall.


Figure 13: West Hagg Front Field Site 100 settlement platforms. Sketch: © Jocelyn Campbell 2009.

In situ and tumbled stone indicate that this lynchet was probably originally stone faced as a retaining wall. The enclosure is bounded on the lower eastern side by a slight lynchet which indicates that this less steep slope was cultivated right up to the edge of the settlement.

Settlement 101: The Barn Field Settlement. (Figures 14 to 17)
A hillside platform settlement comprising seven ovoid or circular platforms (101/01 to 101/07), the largest of which measures between 7m and 9m across.


Figure 14: Barn Field Settlement Site 101.

They are set within a triangular shaped enclosure defined by lynchetted banks measuring some 80m at the base (aligned NW/SE) x 50m (aligned N/S) x 60m (aligned E/W). Two further possible small platforms (101/08 and 101/09) lie just outside and abut the enclosure banks.


Figure 15: Barn Field Settlement Site 101 map.

The settlement was approached through small entrances (gateways perhaps) marked by narrow gaps through the lower boundary (404) and through two gaps at the western end, (402, 403). The northern boundary extends below the modern dry stone walled boundary of field OS 6181 in an approximately westerly direction to form a key lateral banked and lynchetted boundary (200/01) which links settlements 100 and 101 to the contemporary field system (200).  Visible facing stones at 101/08 indicate the lynchetted enclosure banks were originally revetted.


Figure 16: Barn Field Settlement Platforms Site 101, Photo: R Carter 2009.

Possible gateway (402) has a possible track leading in a southerly direction which appears to continue southward in the pastures on the far side of the Fremington to Marske road. The settlement can be described as slightly scooped and levelled into steeply rising ground. The relationship between the settlement enclosure and the prominent earthwork immediately to the rear of the modern barn buildings is not understood. The northern corner of the settlement has been obscured by fill from the recent extensions to the barn.


Figure 17: Barn Field Settlement Platform Site 101/03, Photo: Tim Laurie 2009.

Settlement 101 is located at the head of a field system which extended down towards the Swale floodplain across the Fremington to Marske Road. The fact that the lower southern boundary of the settlement was lynchetted indicates that cultivation of these fields terminated at the edge of the settlement. Small lynchetted features (101/10 and 101/11) and a reduced clearance mound (304) are further evidence of cultivation to the east of this settlement. 


Settlement 102: Hen House Settlement. (Figures 18 to 21)
Hillside platform settlement comprising four ovoid or circular platforms (102/01 to 102/04), the larger three of which measure approximately 12m-15m across (102/03 is smaller at 8m).

Site 102/02 contains a modern wooden shed and Site 102/04 is slighted and possibly truncated by a stone-shed built into the hillslope on its northern side. These platforms are set within a triangular shaped enclosure defined by a steep natural slope to the north, lynchetted banks to the north-east and south-east and the platform banks of 102/01-03 to the south-west. The enclosure measures 60m W/E by 30m N/S. The lynchetted bank forming the south-west boundary of the enclosure, and which appears to be slighted by platform 102/04, appears to begin at the settlement and continues north-eastwards on a SW/NE alignment as part of a series of co-axial banks extending towards Reels Head.


Figure 18: Google Earth view of Settlement Sites 102 (Hen House) and 103 (Hagg Plantation).

The settlement is approached by a trackway (411) rising from the south from lower ground (not surveyed). Two trackways (also labelled 411) link platforms 102/02 and 102/4 to the lower of two pronounced flattened shelves on the hillside above, possibly “Celtic” fields (each roughly 25m x 25m) which may have been artificially levelled but show no signs of lyncheting activity.


Figure 19: Hen House Settlement Site 102 map.

A trackway (406) traverses the uppermost of these fields from above Site 102/04 towards Settlement Site 103 on the higher ground to the north-west but does not directly abut Site 102, possibly due to being slighted by a later, possibly modern trackway (1904). The settlement can be described as slightly scooped and levelled into steeply rising ground.  

Trackway 411 rising from the south suggests that Settlement 102 may lie at the head of a field system which extended down towards the Swale floodplain across the Fremington to Marske Road. 


Figure 20: Hen House Settlement Site 102. Photo: R Carter 2009
Platforms 102/01 and 102/02 cut by wire fence.

It also appears to be linked to the two “Celtic” fields above, to the larger Site 103 higher up the hillside to the north-west, and to the SW/NE co-axial system to the east. These relationships remain to be clarified and understood.


Figure 21: Settlement Sites: 102 and 103 map.

Settlement 103: Hagg Plantation Settlement. (Figures 18, 21, 22, 23 & 24)
Enclosed hillslope platform settlement comprising eleven ovoid or circular platforms (103/01 to 103/11), of which four measure approximately 10m to12m across and seven measure 5m to 8m across.

A further rectangular terrace like feature immediately below the pronounced south-west lynchet measures approximately 20m x 7m. While labelled 103/12 in the settlement series this feature could possibly be a levelled paddock. The settlement is set on a natural saddle below steep hillsides to the north, west and south-west and a prominent glacial mound (407) some 15m high to the east. This mound has been landscaped in the past, possibly in the nineteenth century but there is no evidence as yet as to whether it has more than a geomorphological relationship with the settlement.


Figure 22: Hagg Plantation Settlement Site 103 map.

The hillside continues to fall away sharply to the south-west and south. The settlement is scooped into the surrounding slopes within a broadly trapezoidal enclosure and has a strong lynchetted bank on its south-west edge which is visibly stone-wall revetted for much of its length.


Figure 23: Hagg Plantation Settlement Site103 sherd find. Photo: Tim Laurie 2010.

A pottery sherd provisionally identified as BB2 Black Burnished ware or a local copy was found in mole hill spoil on the lower slope of this bank at SE05693 98976 suggesting possible rubbish disposal from the settlement. Three further sherds of possible Romano-British date await more positive identification. 

The enclosure measures some 60m at the base (aligned NW/SE) by 50m (aligned NE/SW). The settlement was approached by a trackway (406) rising to meet it from the direction of the (smaller) Site 102 to the south. This trackway divides into three branches (all labelled 412) within the settlement, one branch leading to 103/12, one to the main body of the settlement to the north-west (103/01-7) and one dividing that main body from the three platforms scooped into the side of the glacial mound to the east.  

Settlement 103 is located in a commanding position above but adjacent to the observable elements of co-axial field system 200 which extends to the west, south and east, with rising broken ground above it. It is the largest of the settlement sites in the survey area but has little easily cultivable ground or significant pasture in the immediate vicinity, apart from two sizeable “Celtic” fields downslope and closer to the smaller Site 102 


Figure 24: Hagg Plantation Settlement Site103. Photo: Tim Laurie 2009

That said, it clearly sits at the head of a field system which extended down past Site 102 towards the Swale floodplain across the Fremington to Marske Road. This survey has so far been unable to clarify or understand the relationship with Site 102, the possibility that Site 103’s size and position might imply some sort of primacy among the settlement sites in the survey, or whether Site 103 relates to livestock management or possibly lead mining activity in the broken ground and open moorland above the site.  


Settlement 104: Ewelop Site 1.  (Figures 25, 26 & 27)
This prominent homestead settlement which measures some 25m x 25m overall is deeply recessed (scooped), for shelter, into the upper slopes of a fluvio-glacial terrace immediately north of Ewelop Hill. 

(Note: Ewelop Hill is the remains of a terminal moraine marking a pause phase in the retreat of the Swaledale Ice. The very steep upstream Ice Contact Slope is clearly visible below the road from Fremington (Raistrick, 1929).


Figure 25: Ewelop 1: Settlement Site104 map.

Two large house platforms, measuring some 9m diameter are visible at the back or northern side of the settlement. As is characteristic of these scooped settlements, the two house platforms are fronted by a lower stockyard. Scooped homestead settlements on the fringes of the Cheviot Hills in North Northumberland have been recorded showing evidence for circular timber dwellings on terrace like platform affronting a recessed stockyard, similar to Site 104. These were considered by the late George Jobey (Jobey 1962) to predate the enclosed curvilinear settlements of stone founded round houses dated to the period of Roman Occupation.


Figure 26: Ewelop 1 Settlement Site 104. Photo: S. Eastmead 11/11/2009

Settlement 104 is located within a contemporary field system in such a way as to leave no doubt the field system and settlements are contemporary (Figure 24). Field boundaries abut all four corners of this settlement and a further boundary approaches but stops short of the centre of the uphill northern side.


Figure 27: Ewelop 1 and Ewelop 2: Settlements map showing sites 104 and 105 respectively

Settlement 105: Ewelop Site 2. (Figures 27 & 28)
This settlement is located some 150m to the NW of Site 104 and is on more or less level ground at the front, southern edge of the wide pasture/terrace below Intake Wood.


Figure 28: Ewelop 2: Settlement Site 105 map

This settlement (Figure 28) comprises a sub-rectangular leveled platform measuring some 30m-50m overall and is defined on the Northern side by a rear scarp and on the southern side by a front apron. It is in effect a scooped settlement although much less deeply recessed than is Site 104. 

While no house platforms are visible on the ground, the excellent Google Images do indicate or hint of the presence of circular buildings along the northern side of the settlement.   

Most significantly, field boundaries abut the SW, SE and NE corners of this settlement in such a way as to leave no doubt that the settlement is contemporary with Field System 200 (see also Figures 2 and 3). 


Settlement 106: West Hagg Western Field. (Figures 29 & 30)
Hillside platform settlement comprising three ovoid or circular platforms (106/01-03) set within an elongated triangular-shaped enclosure measuring some 25m at the base (aligned N/S) x 75m (aligned E/W) x 75m (aligned SSW/ENE) defined by lynchetted banks steepening to the west. Site 106/1 is an elongated circular platform measuring roughly 25m x 20m and aligned NNW/SSE above a steep bank to the SW and below the slight front bank of the enclosure to Site 106/2. The platform contains three faint possible hut sites. Site 106/02 is slighted by a modern barn (1902) and disturbed by activity generated by a gateway to the south and the modern drystone wall which separates Fields 3600 and 4400, but can be seen as an elongated oval platform aligned W/E measuring roughly 35m W/E and 15m N/S. It is backed by a steep, possibly natural, bank and fronted by a small apron bank above Site 106/01. 


Figure 29: Google Earth view of West Hagg Western Settlement Site106.

Site 106/03 is a circular platform roughly 12m in diameter, sharing the same narrow shelf and virtually contiguous with Site 106/02, with steep lynchets above and below which it slights. 


Figure 30: West Hagg Western Settlement Site106 map.

Site 106 is approached from the SW by a trackway (408) which runs uphill from the “master” lynchet 200/01 (which itself may be paralleled by an E/W trackway) along the crest of lynchet 200/18 which is a significant component of the SSW/NNE element of co-axial field system 200. The trackway ceases to be visible just below Site 106/01 and the lynchet fades to a barely visible feature running to the NNE up to the terrace on which Sites 106/02 and 106/03 are located. It may re-appear more substantially further uphill to the NNE in Field 4400.

 Immediately to the N above Site 106, and extending E, are two substantial terraces with the appearance of some artificial levelling which may be “Celtic” fields. The steep hillside to the W of Site 106 is dissected by the remains of a wall or bank (413) running SSW/ENE in parallel with the western drystone wall boundary of Field 3600. This wall contains remains of a hawthorn hedge. It has not yet been possible to clarify or understand whether wall/bank 413 and the drystone wall represent relics of the ancient co-axial field boundaries of stone and hedges or of a medieval stone-breasted “quick” hedge boundary.

Settlement 107: West Hagg Eastern Field. (Figure 31)
Hillside platform (107/01) is roughly semi-circular and 15m in diameter fronted by a substantial lynchet and backed by a drystone wall which revets higher ground above. Some 20m below and to the south of the platform, is a substantial curving lynchet with visible stone facing.


Figure 31: West Hagg Eastern Field Settlement Site107 map.

Site 107/01 appears disturbed and may have been infilled by stone waste from constructing the drystone wall above.

There is no visible trackway dedicated to the site. To its east, running N/S, is a substantial spring in a shallow valley flanked to the E by a drystone wall which revets the hillside to the E and contains the remains of ancient trees and a thorn hedge. In this valley is a substantial modern trackway leading to the water-source. It is possible that this single platform, 107/01, provided the stance for an isolated round house situated within its own fields.

Settlement 108: Upper Barn Field. (Figures 32, 33, 34 & 35)
Site 108/01 is approximately 25m in diameter, levelled into the hillslope and enclosed by a visible bank. This platform extends below the eastern field boundary wall into the adjacent field where it has been slighted by recent ploughing.


Figure 32: Google Earth view of Upper Barn Field Settlement Site 108.

An ash tree grows on the northern edge. The platform lies within the field system running SSW/ENE towards Reels Head. (Figure 32)


Figure 33: Upper Barn Field Settlement Site 108, Platform 108/1. Photo: Tim Laurie 2009.

Figure 34: Upper Barn Field Settlement Site 108 map.

The boundaries of this field system are ploughed out in the immediate vicinity of the platform. The boundary shown on our survey as a trackway (415), continued down to the steep slope of the modern Irongate Plantation below. 

Site 108/02 is an isolated house platform, circular in plan and approximately 10m in diameter.  

Site 108/03 is an isolated house platform, circular in plan and approximately 12m in diameter, filled with stones possibly dumped after dry-stone walling. Trackway (414) rises to platform 108/03 from the SSW, broadly from the direction of sites 102 and 103, after running along the upper edge of the steep broken valley which flanks Site 108/03.


Figure 35: Google Earth view of Upper Barn Field Settlement Site 108 and associated coaxial field system.

A second coaxial boundary (201/2) running SW/NE towards Reels Head, terminates on Site 108/03 and on the edge of the steep valley. Slight apparently natural terracing adjacent to the three platforms represents small scale cultivation in Upper Barn Field, contemporary with the platform settlement.


6 Field Systems (Figures 36 to 42) 

Two areas of co-axial fields (200 and 201) were identified by the survey sharing the same general WSW-ENE co-axial alignment, the lower of these being linked by the strong lynchet 200/01 to the settlements in the West Hagg pastures. (Figures 36, 37 & 38)


Figure 36: Hagg Farm OS Field 3884 map (located below Site 100) Showing lynchet 200/01

Figure 37: Hagg Farm field 3884: lynchet 200/01 with mound 302 in the background Photo: Tim Laurie

Figure 38: Hagg Farm OS Field 4291 map (between Site 100 and Site 106) also showing lynchet 200/01

The upper area is located on rising ground north west of the road crossing Reels Head. This upper field system, Field System 201, is likely to be contemporary with the lower system. No association has been demonstrated between these field systems on The Hagg Farm pastures and the Marrick Moor Field System, which is a complex landscape of Bronze Age affinities on the high moorland of Copperthwaite Allotment, above and immediately below Fremington Edge (Figure 39). 

This Bronze Age field system comprises unenclosed settlements, cairnfields and the very large coaxial field system which extends from Fremington Edge across Copperthwaite Allotment to cross the Hurst Road at Stelling.


Figure 39: Fremington Edge with Copperthwaite lead vein (foreground) and Copperthwaite Allotment beyond.
Photo: S. Eastmead 11/11/2009

Excavation of an enclosure thought to be a round house and seemingly attached to one of the coaxial boundaries at Reels Head showed the enclosure to be a medieval sheepfold which overlies the early field boundary which had been reused during a later period (Fleming and Laurie, SWALB Interim Report No 2 for 1985). 

The ancient field systems in the Hagg Farm pastures are visible today as substantial lynchetted boundaries 0.5m-3m high -steep short scarps cut into the natural hill side formed by cultivation against a boundary on sloping ground and natural slopes which have been over-steepened by cultivation.

All natural terraces show signs of artificially levelled areas which were presumably cultivated. Significantly few areas show evidence for medieval rig and furrow. More recent dry-stone walls often overlie or have been built immediately above the lynchets which mark ancient field boundaries.

The EDAS survey suggested that over one-third of Hagg Farm walls, particularly around West Hagg, appear to be medieval/post-medieval rather than dating from 18th century enclosure. Many of these older walls utilize the pre-existing field settlement boundaries, suggesting an interesting case study in the interaction between categories of relict and historic landscape types, as utilized in the field of ‘Historic Landscape Characterization and Analysis’ (Rippon).  The settlement sites appear related to and lie within the co-axial fields. 


Figure 40: Ewelop Thistle Hill map. (Located above Ewelop 2: Site 105 with Intake Wood in-between)

Field System 200   (Figures 2 & 3)
This coaxial field system (with field boundaries which share a common axis, i.e. are parallel) extends across the pastures of West Hagg and Sorrel Sykes Farms reaching an elevation of 275m OD, and across the road from Fremington to Marske into the pastures immediately above the Swale flood plain. This field system is defined by very substantial stone embanked and lynchetted boundaries (200/01 – 200/27) on the best, more level, cultivated land and by over-steepened edges formed by ploughing to the rear and front edges of natural terraces on hill slopes. The lynchets and stone banks probably contain faced stone walls, originally hedge banks or retaining walls. This field system is directly associated with the platform settlements previously described (Sites 100-108). 

The best analogue for the West Hagg and Sorrel Sykes coaxial field system is the planned coaxial field systems defined by strong banks and lynchets associated with Late Iron Age settlements above and east of Healaugh which were surveyed and selectively excavated during the Swaledale Ancient Land Boundaries Project (Fleming and Laurie, SWALB Interim Reports Numbers 5–7, 1988-1990 and Fleming, Chapter Nine). 

At Healaugh, very strong lynchets run directly down slope towards the Swale flood plain from the series of prominent platform settlements located within the walled pastures. These lynchets are evidence for the arable cultivation of the very steep hillside east of Healaugh over a very lengthy period of time. The fact that the fields bounded by deep lynchets run down slope is strange, since cultivation of these steep slopes must have been very difficult and terracing would have been much more efficient.

All the above descriptive comments could apply to the coaxial field system at West Hagg and Sorrel Sikes.

The evidence for the association between the coaxial boundaries of Field System 200 and the scooped platform settlements 100-108 is summarised below:

  1. Field banks 200/15 and 200/16 originate from the corners of Settlement Site 104.
  2. Field bank  200/14 is aligned on and forms the western edge of Settlement Site 105.
  3. Lateral boundary 200/01 is the western continuation of the lynchet forming the upper, northern edge of the Barn Field Settlement enclosure Site 101.
  4. Lateral boundary 200/01 extends westward from Site 101 to form the prominent scarp at the West Hagg Farm track entrance gates, then continues as the strong lynchet directly below the modern field wall between fields 4792 and 3884. This lynchet is the dominant structural element of Field system 200 forming the terminus of all banks and images crossing Field 3884 including features 200/02/03/04/05/06; and those crossing Field 4792 including lynchets 200/09 and 200/10. Lynchet 200/09 forms the western side of Settlement 100.
  5. The oversteepened slope 200/18 and those forming the sides of Settlement Site 106 also terminate on lynchet 200/01.

Evidence for late reoccupation of Field System 200.
Whereas the framework for field system 200 is associated with and therefore contemporary with Settlements 100-108, there is no doubt that these fields, established during the Iron Age, were reoccupied intermittently and the boundaries of this field system were recognised throughout subsequent periods.

Presumably this subsequent cultivation increased the depth of the original lynchets and added to the dimensions of the substantial clearance mounds, Sites 300-321. 

Occasional very slight late lynchets run to the side of the main phase lynchets e.g. Features 200/02, 200/04, and 200/05 which are just 0.4m high. These slight lynchets probably represent reoccupation during periods of arable land expansion, e.g. for the ‘Dig for Britain’ campaigns during the two World Wars. 

Boundary 200/01 (Figures 36 to 38)
Lateral boundary 200/01 is the western continuation of the lynchet forming the upper, northern edge of the Barn Field Settlement enclosure Site 101.

 This boundary extends westward from Site 101 to form the prominent scarp at the West Hagg Farm track entrance gates, and then continues as the strong lynchet directly below the modern field wall between fields 4792 and 3884. This lynchet is the dominant structural element of Field System 200 forming the terminus of all banks and lynchets crossing Field 3884 including features 200/02/03/04/05/06, and those crossing Field 4792 including lynchets 200/09 and 200/10. Lynchet 200/09 forms the western side of Settlement 100. The gap through 200/01 for the entrance track to West Hagg Farm House has probably always been an access point, for example from the lower fields to Settlement 100.

Field System 201 (Figures 2, 4, 34 & 35)
This field system also appears to have been associated with the Hagg Farm settlements on grounds that the boundaries are aligned on The Hagg. The field system has been slighted by improved pasture below Reels Head and is incomplete. Elements which survive comprise three coaxial field boundaries sharing the same SW/NE axis with lateral subdivisions, together with an enclosure and several small cairns. 

The structure at Reels Head excavated during the SWALB Project (Fleming and Laurie, SWALB Interim Report No 2, 1985) proved to be a medieval sheepfold overlying the earlier coaxial field boundary.   

The Marrick Moor Field System (Figure 41)
The Marrick Moor Field System together with the cairnfield-type settlements of Bronze Age character on Fremington Edge and on the lower moorland south of Owlands Farm was surveyed with EDM Theodolite during the SWALB Project and an outline plan was produced (Fleming and Laurie, Interim Report No 2, 1985 Season, Figure 1). This outline plan was intended to show the extent of the coaxial field systems on Copperthwaite Allotment together with that further east on Skelton Moor which shares the same axis. The detailed SWALB survey of Marrick Moor shown below with additional detail (Fig. 41) has however been unpublished hitherto (Laurie, Mahaffey and White, forthcoming).


Figure 41: Marrick Moor Coaxial Field System.   
Map: Tim Laurie (1985) Thanks to the landowner Mr. Bainbridge (1985)

The Marrick Moor field system is defined by long field boundaries which are substantial stone banks, highly consolidated and usually shrouded under heather. These field boundaries are up to 2km in length and parallel (i.e. coaxial) to one degree of compass bearing.

This coaxial field system together with the associated settlements, rock art and a total of 9 burnt mounds can be seen to be a fossil Bronze Age Landscape, generally above 400m OD and, since the Marrick Moor and Skelton Moor field systems share the same NNE-SSW axis, extending from Fremington Edge to Munn End above Telfit Farm - a total area of 9 sq. km.

Three cairnfield settlement complexes, comprising stone banked enclosures, small cairns, and ring cairns which are now regarded as isolated round houses, have been recognized on Fremington Edge at situations which are today highly exposed but which may have been sheltered by woodland during the Bronze Age (Figure 39) and, together with an additional site beyond Fremington Edge, are briefly described below:

Fremington Edge East Site
This settlement complex which comprises a large ovoid stone banked enclosure with small cairns, possible round house enclosures and fragmentary field banks is centred on a large round cairn at SE05444, 99644, 419m OD. No less than three field banks converge on the cairn.  This round cairn is located in pasture just 20m south of the modern stone wall and track which runs the length of Fremington Edge. The cairn has been severely quarried for the adjacent wall, but the perimeter of the cairn survives. Most significantly, a long field bank, an element in the coaxial field system which crosses Marrick Moor and Skelton Moor, abuts but does not cross this enclosure. This fact provides critical dating evidence that the Bronze Age Settlement complex is contemporary with or formed the settlement core associated with the construction of the coaxial field system, which respects the enclosure.                                                                    

Fremington Edge - Radio Mast Site.
This settlement is located in pasture above Fremington Edge in the vicinity of the rusting remains of an old radio mast at NZ0470, 0030, 410m OD. The settlement comprises a large ovoid enclosure partly shrouded under peat within which is located a circular round house.  To the east of the radio mast are several cairns and a second circular enclosure. The most westerly boundary of the coaxial field system runs to the edge of the escarpment a few metres to the south east of the Radio Mast. (Figures 41 & 42)


Figure 42: Fremington Edge Radio Mast Site, coaxial field boundary. Photo: Tim Laurie

Fremington Edge West Site.
This settlement is located in pasture on the very edge of the escarpment above Castle Farm, at NZ0370,012, 450m OD. The settlement comprises one and possibly two round houses with field walling and small cairns.

Settlements on moorland South of Owlands Farm and north of the Hurst Road at Stelling.
Six circular stone banked enclosures each with enclosed round houses are located on rising moorland on both sides of Raygill, and in pasture at Stelling, north of the road to Hurst (Figures 5 & 41). All the settlement enclosures described above probably represent the summer encampments of seasonal pastoralists, small pioneering family groups who may have moved with their animals from their year round settlements on the gravel terraces of the Swale and Wharfe in the Vale of Mowbray
(Figure 48), to take advantage of the grazing available on the limestone of the Pennine Dale Fringe.  The coaxial field system which developed from these pioneering settlement cores extends across the open heather moorland on Copperthwaite Allotment. One coaxial field boundary crosses the Marrick to Hurst Road to a settlement with two round houses located in the modern walled pastures at Stelling.

Burnt Mounds at Stelling Springs.
Burnt mounds are crescentic mounds of highly-compacted fire cracked sandstone fragments: discard heaps arising from the heating of water with hot stones. These mounds are generally 8m to 18m in diameter and are always located at springs or on the edge of low energy streams below springs. The majority of burnt mounds have been radiocarbon dated to the middle Bronze Age with a few sites dating to the Late Neolithic, and are now generally described as being sweathouses/saunas, although many uses have been proposed including cooking, fulling woollen cloth and brewing, and other uses are possible. No less than nine burnt mounds are located at springs rising on the lower moorland slopes south of Owlands Farm and at Stelling (Laurie 2004 and Figure 41). The largest of these is south of Raygill, at NZ05457, 00530. A full gazetteer of the burnt mounds on Copperthwaite Allotment and at Stelling Springs is under preparation and will be attached as a future Appendix to this Report.


Rock Art
A number of impressive rock art sites have been located at Stelling, near Dales Beck and on Skelton Moor in Marske Parish. (Beckensall and Laurie 1998). Representative selections of carved rocks are shown below (Figures 43-45).

Two carved rocks are located close to Dales Beck. A photograph of one of these taken in October 2006 when the greater part of the rock was covered under turf is included here as Figure 43. This rock located on open moorland on Forty Acres Allotment has recently featured in Current Archaeology (CA 241, April 2010, pp 8-9.), when the remarkable detail on the rock was revealed following removal of the partial turf covering.


Figure 43: Dales Beck Rock Art.  Photo: Tim Laurie 2006


Figure 44: Cock How Rock Art. Photo: Tim Laurie 1984


Figure 45: Marske Munn End Rock Art. Photo: Tim Laurie 1984

7. Other Features

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 the elm pollards (Fleming 1998) may well take us back to the mediaeval or early modern landscape, as would hedgerows if the rule of thumb that the number of species in an ancient hedgerow reflects its age in centuries is correct. Trees and hedgerow fragments incorporated in the more recent boundary landscape of dry-stone walls suggest that such boundaries are respecting much older hedge lines.

Most mounds found within the survey area have the appearance of field clearance mounds. No definite evidence exists for burial mounds (barrow mounds) at Hagg Farm. However the prominent knoll next to the road, south of The Hagg Farm House, may prove to be an artificial barrow mound.


Figure 46: Hagg Farm OS Field 3884 site 302. Photo: S. Eastmead

Trackways, usually in the form of narrow hollow ways, were present associated with and within the settlements.

Other finds
Two beehive quernstones have been located within the survey area (Figure 47). The EDAS survey recorded a quern stone base lying at the foot of a dry-stone wall to the south-east of the small field barn at SE 0544 9897 west of West Hagg. It is now better protected and is united with an upper quern stone in the garden of West Hagg House (at the time of the EDAS survey this was a private house and outside the remit of the survey).

The two stones match reasonably well, and in size, shape and state of preservation fall well within the recorded database for North Yorkshire (Heslop 2008). As querns are unlikely to have travelled far from their place of ownership and use, this is prima facie evidence of Iron Age habitation in the survey area.

 A sherd of Romano-British pottery (Figure 23), provisionally identified as BB2 Black Burnished Ware or a local copy, was found in mole-hill spoil below Site 103/04. Further sherds await identification.


Figure 47:  West Hagg garden – Bee Hive Quern.  Photo: S Eastmead 20/08/2009

8. Discussion and Interim Conclusions

Our knowledge and interpretation of late prehistoric/Romano-British settlement in the Yorkshire Dales is far removed from the assessment, pioneering and well-informed for the time, of Raistrick who, focussing on West Yorkshire but generalizing to include the northern dales, commented that “in this cold, wet climate life must have been hard and the standard of living low” and that for the Roman and post-Roman period the people of the dales “chose freedom with poverty on the high ground” (Raistrick 1962). As recently as 1978, the definitive  history of Swaledale could conclude that “the most significant fact about the pre-history of Swaledale is the paucity of sites compared with other parts of the Pennines further north and further south” and that Swaledale was not heavily populated in prehistory (Fieldhouse and Jennings). 

The work of Laurie and others has revolutionized this picture, for Wensleydale, Swaledale, Teesdale and the dales region. In Swaledale and at West Hagg in the Iron Age/Romano-British period, we now see a well-populated farming landscape, with substantial unenclosed farmsteads in a linear pattern along the dale sides in well-articulated field systems extending well beyond present limits of cultivation and pasture. In particular, this was an organized landscape delimited by extensive co-axial field systems which in turn lie adjacent to (and may in some cases overly) earlier Bronze Age organized landscapes. Swaledale now ranks well with other upland areas of England, for the Bronze Age, Iron Age and the Romano-British periods, where upland areas are in any case rather better represented than the lowlands in the landscape record (Taylor). Indeed, for the Yorkshire dales area, the density of settlement is exceptional and bears comparison with Wharfedale and Grassington.

 While it is not yet possible to understand elements of continuity and discontinuity between the Bronze and Iron Ages, some attempt at explanation of this density of settlement is required, not least because Swaledale is, ostensibly, a cul-de-sac rather than a main route through the Pennines. Two factors merit consideration: 

  1. The geology of Swaledale offers exposed limestone strata with strong springs issuing from the base of each stratum, giving rise in pre-history to species-rich hazel-dominant woodland highly suitable for browse pasture and easy to clear for more open pasture and cultivation: in sharp contrast to areas where chert and sandstone dominate with poorly drained soils, where field systems are absent. This environment was probably first exploited through seasonal occupation of the dale by population groups resident year-round in the Vale of Mowbray. (Figure: 48)
  1. By contrast with wooded and marshy valley bottoms in pre-history, the Swale-Tees-Greta uplands provided easy access for the foot-traveller on the SE/NW route from the Vale of Mowbray through Stainmore and the Eden Valley to the Solway lowlands, Galloway and Ireland   


Figure 48: Vale of Mowbray ©Natural England copyright 2010

For the Iron Age/Romano-British period it is legitimate to speculate, as a guide for future work, on the people who created this landscape and lived and worked in it, and on the sort of activities they were engaged in.  

We can be reasonably sure that the inhabitants of West Hagg spoke a dialect of P-Celtic and belonged to what is now seen as a tribal confederation that we know as the Brigantes, a name known through documentary evidence from Roman sources and co-ordinated for the tribes or peoples of Britain by Ptolemy in the second century C.E. (Strang). We do not know what they called either themselves or the area in which they lived. The extensive nature of the co-axial field systems here suggests a form of hierarchical social organization. At West Hagg we may therefore be looking at tenant or otherwise subservient farmers owing allegiance to an organizing elite based elsewhere. Evidence of such an elite is sparse in Swaledale, apart from the significant settlements at Applegarth and at Maiden Castle on Harkerside (RCHME, 1996), the smaller hillfort at How Hill, Downholme, and defended hill-top enclosures at Grinton and How Hill, Low Whita (White, 2005). But Swaledale could well have constituted lands belonging to members of the Brigantian elite based in the lowlands to the east in the Vale of Mowbray, or even at the major centre at Stanwick close-by to the north-east. Only excavation might enable us to date the farmsteads at West Hagg more precisely: for example whether they are co-terminous with each other or represent, for whatever reason, locational change over time either through movement from one site to another or through increasingly intensive settlement. Similarly, without further investigation we can only speculate on whether and how Swaledale was integrated into the Roman economy of Britain. Was this predominantly a subsistence economy, as White (op. cit.) has suggested for the dales region, or was a site like West Hagg involved in surplus production either for the Brigantian elite or for the Roman authorities or both? The co-axial field system could suggest a regime designed to produce surpluses for use elsewhere. Once the Romans arrived, new demand was created, for food for their mining camps, towns, forts and campaigning armies, and for supplies such as hides and wool.  Recent study of the textile industries of Roman Britain has suggested that the demand from the army in Britain at its peak under Hadrian for finished woollen goods could have absorbed 200,000 fleeces annually and that perhaps half the rural households in Britain were involved in production, especially in the military zones (Wild). While it is suggested that raw wool was rarely traded (everywhere had sheep), finished products were traded internationally, and Diocletian’s Edict on Prices of 301 C.E. lists the birrhus britannicus (a hooded woollen cloak in widespread demand) as the sixth most expensive out of 14 cloaks listed, and two forms of British tapete (a woollen cloth or rug suitable for the saddle or the couch) as the most valuable in their category.

Equally we cannot tell whether arable land was significant in the landscape, although it is reasonable to suggest that some cereals and vegetables were produced on site.

It is also reasonable to assume that the pastoral economy was focussed on sheep, probably similar to the surviving Soay breed and to suggest that the co-axial field systems delimit sheep-runs. During the Roman period, the sheep:cattle ratio changed over time with an increase in cattle numbers compared to the native British pattern (Cool), but we cannot at present estimate the importance of cattle here.      

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, particularly around large platforms visible in bracken above the headwall, could help to elucidate continuity of settlement on the broader site over time.  

 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, whether there were links to the river bottom in this period, and whether there were links to possible early mining activity below and above the main escarpment of Fremington Edge and possible settlement (on present evidence earlier, probably Bronze Age) on high ground above Fremington Edge at Copperthwaite Allotment.  

Only intrusive excavation offers the prospect of more precise dating within the broad time-frame of Iron Age/ Romano-British dating, and thus of attempting to understand how the evidence identified in this survey relates to the broader issue of whether and how the rural economy of Swaledale was affected by and responded to the Roman occupation of North Yorkshire.

The authors are delighted to dedicate SWAAG Archaeological Report No. 1 to Helen Bainbridge of the Swaledale Museum in appreciation of her contribution to the cultural life of Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, and of her unfailing professionalism and enthusiasm in supporting all who delve into the history of our dales.

The authors wish to thank Mrs Mary Clarke for her kind permission to access her land at The Hagg; Martin Wood-Weatherall and Ronnie Bailey for access at Sorrel Sykes farm; FPW for generously enabling SWAAG to obtain aerial photographs; the indefatigable Jocelyn Campbell for her splendid sketches; Ric Carter for his photographs, and to all members of SWAAG for their contributions to this work and for their enthusiasm, good humour and support.


  Creative Commons Licence
The Fremington Project: An Iron Age/Romano-British Landscape at Hagg Farm by Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at



Appendix 1. Site and Feature Numbers
Sites and features were, and future records will be, assigned number sequences as follows (beginning with 100 to avoid confusion with EDAS feature numbers which ran from 1-94):

100-199 Settlements
200-299 Field systems
300-399 Mounds (Stone clearance mounds and cairns)
400-499 Miscellaneous secondary features (Trackways, gaps, gateways in early field boundaries, field enclosures & sheepfolds)
500-599 Burial & ritual sites (including: round barrows, stone cairns, ring cairns, standing stones, & stone rings)
600-699 Rock art
700-799 Burnt mounds
800-899 Lithic finds and Occupation Sites
900-999 Midden sites
1000-1099 Artefact finds
1100-1199 Medieval settlements and isolated rectangular buildings
1200-1299 Mining remains
1900-1999 Modern structures on / near archaeology
2000-2099 Topographical and geological features 
2100-2199 Veteran trees and hedgerow fragments

Sub-numbers e.g. 100/01 are used to identify features within a primary category.  

Settlements:  100+


Field Number




West Hagg Lower Settlement



Barn Field Settlement



Hen House Settlement



Hagg Plantation Settlement



Ewelop Site 1



Ewelop Site 2



West Hagg Western Settlement



West Hagg Eastern Settlement



Upper Barn Field Settlement


Field Systems: 200+ 


Field Number




Fields: 3600, 4291, 3884, 4792, 6090, 6181
























4291, 4792





























Ewelop Thistle Hill










Reels Head field System




Mounds: 300+  Stone clearance mounds and cairns 


Field Number




Indistinct Clearance Mound



Clearance Mound / Possible Post Mill site



Large Clearance Mound on top of Lynchet



Robbed Clearance Mound



Robbed Clearance Mound



Clearance Mound



Clearance Mound












Dew Pond








Thistle Hill




Clearance Cairn




Secondary Features:    400+  Trackways, gaps, gateways in early field boundaries, field enclosures, sheepfolds. 


Field Number







Lynchet gap



Lynchet gap















18th C Landscape walled plantation / view point





Thistle Hill




Sunken trackway



















Modern Features on / near Archaeology: 1900+    


Field Number




Chicken House



Farm Shed



Byre / Hay Store



18th/19thC Field Barn



Appendix 2. Gazetteer (Feature Record Sheets)

These have now been archived.


Appendix 3. Illustrations

Figure   1: Fremington Edge from Jabz cave towards Reels Head.
Figure   2: Hagg Farm site shown in Google Earth with GPS archaeology overlay.
Figure   3: Hagg Farm and Ewelop Sites.
Figure   4: Hagg Farm map – Reels Head section showing coaxial field system 201.
Figure   5: Fremington Project Study Area
Figure   6: Fremington Edge from Jabz cave towards Reels Head.
Figure   7:
The Main Limestone at Fell End, Fremington Edge
Figure   8: West Hagg pastures from the south.
Figure   9: Google Earth view of main settlements on Hagg Farm.
Figure 10: Google Earth view of Ewelop settlement sites to the north of Ewelop Hill
Figure 11: Google Earth view of West Hagg Front Field Site 100
Figure 12: West Hagg Front Field Site 100 map.
Figure 13: West Hagg Front Field Site 100 settlement platforms.
Figure 14: Barn Field Settlement Site 101.
Figure 15: Barn Field Settlement Site 101 map.
Figure 16: Barn Field Settlement Platforms Site 101.
Figure 17: Barn Field Settlement Platform Site 101/03
Figure 18: Google Earth view of Settlement Sites 102 (Hen House) and 103 (Hagg Plantation).
Figure 19: Hen House Settlement Site 102 map.
Figure 20: Hen House Settlement Site 102
Figure 21: Settlement Sites: 102 and 103 map.
Figure 22 (Left): Hagg Plantation Settlement Site 103 map.
Figure 23 (Left): Hagg Plantation Settlement Site103 sherd find.
Figure 24: Hagg Plantation Settlement Site103
Figure 25: Ewelop 1: Settlement Site104 map.
Figure 26: Ewelop 1 Settlement Site 104.
Figure 27: Ewelop 1 and Ewelop 2: Settlements map showing sites 104 and 105 respectively
Figure 28: Ewelop 2: Settlement Site 105 map
Figure 29: Google Earth view of West Hagg Western Settlement Site106.
Figure 30: West Hagg Western Settlement Site106 map
Figure 31: West Hagg Eastern Field Settlement Site107 map.
Figure 32: Google Earth view of Upper Barn Field Settlement Site 108.
Figure 33: Upper Barn Field Settlement Site 108, Platform 108/1.
Figure 34: Upper Barn Field Settlement Site 108 map.
Figure 35: Google Earth view of Upper Barn Field Settlement Site 108 and associated coaxial field system
Figure 36: Hagg Farm OS Field 3884 map (below Site 100)
Figure 37: Hagg Farm field 3884: lynchet 200/01 with mound 302 in the background
Figure 38: Hagg Farm OS Field 4291 map (between Site 100 and Site 106) also showing lynchet 200/01
Figure 39: Fremington Edge with Copperthwaite vein (foreground) and Copperthwaite Allotment beyond.
Figure 40: Ewelop Thistle Hill map. (Located above Ewelop 2: Site 105 with Intake Wood in-between)
Figure 41: Marrick Moor Coaxial Field System
Figure 42: Fremington Edge Radio Mast Site
Figure 43: Dale Beck Rock Art
Figure 44: Cock How Rock Art
Figure 45: Marske Munn End Rock Art
Figure 46: Hagg Farm OS Field 3884 site 302.
Figure 47: (Left) West Hagg garden – Bee Hive Querns.
Figure 48: Vale of Mowbray ©Natural England copyright 2010

Appendix 4. Full page versions of SWAAG maps

A printer friendly A4 version of the SWAAG Maps (pdf) can be downloaded here (15.5MB)


Appendix 5. Bibliography

Beckensall, S.B. and Laurie, T.C., 1998. The Prehistoric Rock Art of County Durham, Swaledale and Wensleydale. County Durham Books

Burgess, C.B., 1970. Hetha Burn 1, Hethpool, Northumberland. Trans. of the Archaeological and Architectural Society of Durham and Northumberland New Series, vol. 2, pp 1-26

Cool, H.E.M., 2006. Eating and Drinking in Roman Britain. Cambridge University Press

EDAS (Ed Dennison Associates), 1997. Hagg farm, Swaledale, North Yorkshire Archaeological Survey

Fieldhouse, R., and Jennings, B., 1978 (reprinted 2005). A History of Richmond and Swaledale. Phillimore

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 []

Frodsham, P., 2004. Archaeology in the Northumberland National Park. CBA

Heslop, D. H., 2008. Patterns of Quern Production, Acquisition and Deposition: A Corpus of Beehive Querns from North Yorkshire and Southern Durham. Yorkshire Archaeological Society Occasional Paper No. 5

Jobey, G. A., 1962. Note on Scooped Enclosures in Northumberland, Archaeologia Aeliana, vol. XL, Fourth Series, pp 47-58

Laurie, T.C., 1984. An Enclosed Settlement near East Mellwaters Farm, Bowes, Co Durham. Durham 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

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

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

Laurie, T.C., Mahaffy, N.W. and White, R.F, forthcoming. Coaxial Field Systems in Swaledale, a reassessment following recent fieldwork, in Papers delivered at the PLACE Conference/Day School at Grassington, 31 October 2009.

Raistrick, A., 1929. The glaciation of Wensleydale, Swaledale and adjoining parts of the Pennines. Proc. Yorkshire Geol. Soc. 20, 366-410.

Raistrick, A., 1962. Iron-Age Settlements in West Yorkshire. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal vol.34, pp 115-150

RCHME, 1996. Maiden Castle, Swaledale

Rippon, Stephen, 2004 (reprinted 2008). Historic Landscape Analysis. C.B.A.

Strang, Alastair, 1997. Explaining Ptolemy’s Roman Britain, Britannia vol. 28 pp. 1-30

Taylor, Jeremy, 2007. An atlas of Roman rural settlement in England. CBA Research Report 151, Council for British Archaeology

Turnbull, P. 1986. Gayle Lane Earthwork, Wensleydale. BAR British Series 158 pp 205-211

White, Robert, 2005. The Yorkshire Dales, A Landscape Through Time. Great Northern Books