Archaeologia Volume 7 Section XIX

Archaeologia Volume 7 Section XIX is in Archaeologia Volume 7.

A further account of some Druidical Remains [Carl Wark [Map]] in Derbyshire. By Hayman Rooke (age 62), Esq. Read December 11th, 1785.

On Hathersage Moor in the high Peak, not far from the road that goes from Sheffield to Manchester, is a British work, called Cairs work [Map]. See the plan Pl. XIII. fig. 1. It is about two hundred yards in length, and fixty-one in width. It takes in an hill precipitous all round, except at the north end, where there is a wall of a very singular construcion. It is near three feet thick, and consists of three rows of very large stones. On the top are other large stones, set obliquely end ways, a view of which is in the same plate fig. 1. at b. The inside is filled up with earth and stones, which form the vallum, and slope inwards twenty-five feet. The height of the wall to the top of the sloping stones (as abovementioned) is nine feet four inches. The principal entrance seems to have been at the east end of the wall; a lesser one is on the west side; both marked (c) in the plan. The area of this work is full of rocks and large stones; several of these are rocking stones, three of which are engraved in Plate XIII. fig 2. (a) thirteen feet in length, (b) eight feet, (c) nine feet fix inches; and others have rock basons.

On the east side of this work, is a very lingular stone (see Plate XIV. fig. I [a]. It measures thirteen feet fix inches in length, hangs over a precipice, and is supported by two smali stones; that on the north side is marked (b); the other is on the south side in a similar fituation, which cannot be seen from the spot whence the drawing was taken. These plainly appear to have been fixed by art. On the top is a large rock bason four feet three inches diameter, close to which, on the south side, is an hollow cut like a chair, with a step to rest the feet upon. This, the country people say, has always been called Cair o chair; from whence we may suppose this to have been a seat of justice, where the principal Druid sat, who, being contiguous to the rock bason, might have recourse to appearances in the water, in doubtful cases. It is natural therefore to imagine, from the many sacred erections, that this place must have been intended for holy uses, or a court of justice.

Note a. See its situation in the plan at (c). It is necessary to observe, that the plan was not taken with any instruments.

At about three hundred yards north of this work, is an assemblage of rocks, called Higgar Tor (see Plate XIV. fig. 2.) where (a) is a rocking stone twenty-nine feet in circumference, and (b) a large stone with a rock bason.

About two miles west of Hathersage Moor, and separated by a cultivated valley, is Highlow Moor. At the east end is a large tumulus [Map] [Highlow Moor Barrows [Map]] of earth and stone, one hundred and eighty-nine feet in circumference, which seemed to have been opened at the top and side; near it are five small ones. At about fix hundred yards from these, at the West end of the Moor, are three smali tumuli of earth and stone, but little raised from the ground, the largest twenty-four feet diameter. At the East end of Alney Moor adjoining to Highlow moor is a circle [Smelting Hill Stone Circle [Map]] inclosed with a vallum of earth, within which are four upright stones, eighteen inches out of the ground. In the year 1761, my worthy and learned friend Mr. Pegge of Whittington explored these moors, and says, that there were then nine large stones standing at equal dillances, and that on Overton Moor, which joins to the above, was a large circle of stones, whereof some stood on end, but there are now hardly any traces to be seen of this circle, the stones having been all taken up for the repair of roads and walls.

In those lesser tumuli or lows scattered over this tract human bones have often been discovered; which shews that they as well as the large tumuli, were all sepulchres. In some of the largest have been found urns, sometimes singly, and sometimes four in a low. Besides the urns, beads and rings have been found, which shews that they were British.