REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of upright or recumbent stones. The circle of stones may be surrounded by earthwork features such as enclosing banks and ditches. Single upright stones may be found within the circle or outside it and avenues of stones radiating out from the circle occur at some sites. Burial cairns may also be found close to and on occasion within the circle. Stone circles are found throughout England although they are concentrated in western areas, with particular clusters in upland areas such as Bodmin and Dartmoor in the south-west and the Lake District and the rest of Cumbria in the north-west. This distribution may be more a reflection of present survival rather than an original pattern. Where excavated they have been found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2400-1000 BC). It is clear that they were carefully designed and laid out, frequently exhibiting very regularly spaced stones, the heights of which also appear to have been of some importance. We do not fully understand the uses for which these monuments were originally constructed but it is clear that they had considerable ritual importance for the societies that used them. In many instances excavation has indicated that they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function, helping mark the passage of time and seasons, this being indicated by the careful alignment of stones to mark important solar or lunar events such as sunrise or sunset at midsummer or midwinter. At other sites the spacing of individual circles throughout the landscape has led to a suggestion that each one provided some form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group. A small stone circle comprises a regular or irregular ring of between 7 and 16 stones with a diameter of between 4 and 20 metres. They are widespread throughout England although clusters are found on Dartmoor, the North Yorkshire Moors, in the Peak District and in the uplands of Cumbria and Northumberland. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England, over 100 are examples of small stone circles. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation.
The Hordon Edge stone circle survies in good condition with many of its components likely to be in their original position. The land surrounding the circle has an accumulation of peat which will preserve buried archaeological features below the monument and in the immediate vicinity.
The monument includes a circle of 11 standing stones with evidence that at least three more stones lie below the ground surface. The circle is situated on level moorland close to the edge of a west-facing escarpment known as Hordron Edge and overlooks the upper Derwent Valley. The stone circle is dated to the Bronze Age and is sometimes referred to as 'The Seven Stones of Hordron'. The circle measures 15m by 16m and is of local stone. The height of the stones varies from 0.45m to 0.95m with the largest standing at the south west of the arrangement. There is no trace of an embankment surrounding the circle, as with several stone circles in the Peak District, nor of central features. The stones are arranged into three groups with relatively wide spacings between each. During repair and restoration work in 1992, evidence for at least three more orthostats below ground was discovered and it is likely that the stones were originally more regularly spaced. It is unclear whether the present positions of the standing stones are original settings, but many are likely to be undisturbed. Dispersed around the circle are several small and indistinct mounds which may either be natural hummocks or possible clearance cairns. The area surrounding the circle is covered with an accumulation of peat which may mask further archaeological features.
Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, J W - Title: The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District - Date: 1990 - Page References: 45-6 - Type: DESC TEXT
Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J W - Title: Bronze Age Settlement on the East Moors of Derbyshire - Date: 1986 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 106 - Page References: 22 - Type: DESC TEXT
Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J W - Title: Recent Repairs at Peak District Stone Circles ... - Date: 1996 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 116 - Page References: 27-48 - Type: DESC TEXT
Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J W - Title: Recent Repairs at Peak District Stone Circles ... - Date: 1996 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 116 - Page References: 38-41 - Type: DESC TEXT