Land off Christian Head, Kirkby Stephen

Land off Christian Head, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria: Heritage Assessment

Following a pre-application enquiry regarding the proposed residential development of land off Christian Head, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, Greenlane Archaeology was commissioned to carry out a heritage assessment of the site. This was intended to establish at an early stage whether the area was likely to have any known sites of archaeological interest or whether there was any potential for as yet unknown sites to be present, as well as assess the potential impact of the development on any nearby heritage assets. The work, which included a site visit, was carried out in January 2017.

The 1.54 hectare site lies to the north-west edge of Kirkby Stephen. Information contained in the Historic Environment Record revealed a variety of sites within the area immediately around it, including the route of a possible Roman road passing through the south-east side of Kirkby Stephen, an area of lynchets of unknown but possibly prehistoric date, and the Grade II Listed Stobars Hall, immediately to the west. However, none of these lie within the proposed development area and so will not be directly affected. The medieval settlement at Kirkby Stephen was probably focused on the centre of the town some distance to the east and maps of the area show that the site has been open fields since at least the mid-19th century. The origin of the name ‘Bloody Bones Lane’ to the south of the site is uncertain but of potential interest, while the majority of the previously known archaeological sites in the vicinity of the proposed development area are post-medieval in date. Numerous pieces of previous archaeological work have been carried out nearby but these have tended to be inconclusive or find no remains of archaeological interest.

In view of the archaeological evidence from the wider area, and taking into account the results of a site visit, there is some potential for remains of archaeological interest to be present. While there is a possibility that outlying features relating to the medieval settlement or stray finds of medieval date could be present, and the potential for finds (and possibly features) of post-medieval date to be present is probably greater, there is also the possibility that the, probably prehistoric, field system represented by the lynchets to the west and extensive remains from the wider area had associated elements within the site that are now not visible above ground.

The full report will be made available on the Archaeology Data Service website.