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Monument record MDR3723 - Stone circle, Nine Stone Close (Grey Ladies), Harthill

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Stone circle, about 13 yards in diameter in a field called 'Nine-stone Close' upon Harthill Moor, consisting in 1780 (1) of six stones, although Rooke says "if we may judge by the eye…there were formerly nine". Two further stones stood 75 yards to the south. Excavation within the circle on the 6th March 1847 revealed several fragments of badly-fired pottery and flint. (2) Four stones described. There are no other signs of stones at the circle nor is there any trace of a mound or bank. There is a large recumbent stone in the next field a little west of north-west and about 250 feet from the circle. "The only thing that can be said in its favour is that it is not so deeply bedded in as other clearly natural stones in the field" and there are signs of a hole from which it might have come. (3) Two of the four remaining stones were set in concrete in c.1936. (4) Nine Stone Close stone circle became a scheduled monument on the 28th April 1949 and this was re-affirmed in 1993. It is located on the edge of Harthill Moor in the eastern gritstone moors of Derbyshire. The monument is a small stone circle and includes the four remaining upright stones and the sites of the stones which were removed in the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the latter lies 70 metres to the south where, in the late 18th century, it was taken to be used as a gatepost in a field wall. As this stone is no longer in-situ it is not included in the scheduling. The remaining upright stones are all c. two metres high and form the eastern arc of the original circle which had a diameter of approximately 30 metres. The south-west stone has cup marks on both faces. These are artificial incisions often found on stones incorporated into Bronze Age ceremonial and domestic structures. They may have been purely decorative or could have served a practical function which has not so far been recognised. Partial excavations of the circle were carried out by Thomas Bateman in 1847, Jewitt and Greenwell in 1877 and J P Heathcote in 1939. Numerous flints and pot-sherds were found which date the monument to the Bronze Age. In addition, the circle forms part of a rich prehistoric landscape on Harthill Moor which includes Bronze Age barrows and settlement enclosures. (5, 11) Four stones of the circle are extant with one standing stone to the south. The heights vary from 1.2 metres to 1.6 metres. A recumbent to the north-west was not located. (6) Four standing stones (orthostats) arranged in a semi-circle are the remains of a prehistoric stone circle situated in an enclosed field called Nine Stone Close. They form the eastern half of a circle which would have had an original diameter of between 13.5 and 12 metres. A fifth orthostat has been used as a gatepost of a now blocked gate in the southern wall of the field containing the circle. The stones of the circle are between 1.95 and 2.2 metres tall. The stone circle was built during either the Neolithic or early Bronze Age. The circle is free-standing and there are no visible features within the central area. The name implies that the circle originally had nine stones. Apart from the gatepost stone, antiquarian accounts describe a total of seven stones within the circle (11). The circle was restored by Heathcote in 1939. (12) The southernmost stone of this stone circle has been suggested to be cup marked on its outer face. Several small depressions here may well be natural weathering, but cannot be certainly dismissed. (13) Photographic record. (14)

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <1> Article in serial: Rooke, H. 1779?. Archaeologia. Volume 6. p 113.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Bateman, T. 1848. Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire. pp 102,111.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Phillips, C W. 1932. Derby Circles.
  • <4> Article in serial: Heathcote, J. 1939. 'The Nine Stones, Harthill Moor', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 60. pp 126-128.
  • <5> Scheduling record: Ministry of Works. 1961. Ancient Monuments of England and Wales. 31.
  • <6> Personal Observation: F1 FDC 16-NOV-66.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Burl, A. 1976. The Stone Circles of the British Isles. pp 344, 406.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: Marsden, B. 1977. The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire. p 43.
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: Frances Lincoln. 1979. Rings of Stones: the Prehistoric Stone Circles of Britain & Ireland.
  • <10> Monograph: Barnatt, J. 1990. The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District. Site 45.
  • <11> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1993. Scheduling Notification. 23244. SM Cat. No. 94.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Bevan, B (PDNPA). 1995. Robin Hood's Stride, Harthill and Elton, Derbyshire, archaeological survey, 1995. No.1,2, p10, illus..
  • <13> Article in serial: Barnatt, J & Robinson, F. 2003. 'Prehistoric rock-art at Ashover School and further new discoveries ...', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol. 123, pp 1-28. p 23.
  • <14> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Slide Collection. 6712.1.



Grid reference Centred SK 2253 6264 (14m by 18m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

  • EDR12
  • EDR13
  • EDR528
  • EDR3920
  • EDR1161

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Record last edited

Apr 29 2015 10:46AM

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