Scheduled Monument: STONE CIRCLE 330M NORTH WEST OF CROOKHILL FARM (1019909)

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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 485
Date assigned Wednesday, May 9, 2001
Date last amended

Description

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors. On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time. A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, will be identified as nationally important. 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 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 lead 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 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. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These burials were placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst prehistoric communities. The stone circle 330m north west of Crookhill Farm is important as a surviving example of either a stone circle or possible kerbed cairn. Only excavation would resolve the exact interpretation of the monument. A large amount of the monument remains intact and will contain undisturbed archaeological information. The stone circle or kerbed cairn is also important in its association with nearby contemporary ceremonial and agricultural features. Taken together, these monuments provide substantial evidence for the settlement and ceremonial use of the surrounding area during the Bronze Age. DETAILS The monument includes a circle of stones occupying gently sloping ground within an area of enclosed moorland. The location of the monument affords extensive views over the Derwent valley and is overlooked by the gritstone crags of Crook Hill. The monument forms an irregular circle measuring 7m in diameter. The circle is defined by five small stones two of which remain standing and three of which lie flat. The standing stones measure 0.4m and 0.6m in height, the fallen stones appear to be of similar size. The interior of the circle contains two patches of grass-covered rubble which may indicate that the monument was also a cairn with the stones acting as a kerb around the edge of the mound. The location and physical characteristics of the monument indicate that it is either a stone circle or kerbed cairn of Bronze Age date. The monument is associated with nearby contemporary features including two round cairns and a clearance cairn. Despite disturbance to the the interior of the monument, many of the surrounding stones are undisturbed and the monument will contain undisturbed archaeological information. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, JW - Title: Crookhill Farm Hope Woodlands Archaeological Survey 1994 - Date: 1995 Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, JW - Title: Crookhill Farm Hope Woodlands Archaeological Survey 1994 - Date: 1995 - Page References: 9 Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, John - Title: The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District - Date: 1990 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2001. Scheduling Notification: Stone circle 330m north west of Crookhill Farm. List entry no. 1019909. SM Cat. No. 485.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SK 1847 8711 (15m by 17m)
Map sheet SK18NE
Civil Parish HOPE WOODLANDS, HIGH PEAK, DERBYSHIRE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Oct 11 2013 1:57PM

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