Scheduled Monument: STONE CIRCLE, 960M NORTH EAST OF HIGH LEES FARM (1018094)

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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 406
Date assigned Wednesday, April 29, 1998
Date last amended


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 small stone circle 960m north east of High Lees Farm is in particularly good condition with its original stone setting complete. It is also important to our understanding of the prehistoric architecture of ceremonial monuments. DETAILS The monument includes a small embanked stone circle standing on a small bluff on gently shelving ground to the south east. The stone circle is in a good state of preservation and most of its original orthostats (upright boulders) appear to be still in place. The slightly ovoid circle has an external diameter of 11m by 10m and consists of a continuous earthen embankment between 1.5m and 2m wide and standing about 0.35m high. Around the internal edge of the embankment are six orthostats ranging between 0.4m and 0.65m in height. They form a ring of stones 8m by 7m in diameter. The centre of the circle is uneven with no evidence of a central cairn as in some examples elsewhere in the local region. The circle stands on a slight bluff on land facing south east, overlooking two cairnfields in that direction and the edge of another to the south west. The monument occupies a platform cut into the sloping ground of the bluff to create a near level interior. There is evidence of a drystone wall built to retain earth on the south western side of the circle. Large slabs of stone on the north east are likely to be the remains of a kerb or retaining wall. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, John - Title: The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District - Date: 1990 - Page References: 47-8 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1 Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J. W. - Title: Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of Derbyshire - Date: 1986 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 106 - Type: PLAN: SKETCH

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1998. Scheduling Notification: Stone circle, 960m north east of High Lees Farm. List entry no. 1018094. SM Cat. No. 406.



Grid reference Centred SK 2211 8453 (9m by 8m)
Map sheet SK28SW

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Oct 21 2013 1:46PM

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