Monument record MDR3908 - Site of cairnfield and possible embanked stone circle, Top O'Riley

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Two cairns or barrows and a large stone circle surrounded by an earthen bank with an entrance, "if not two", formerly stood on the Top of Riley. Urns containing ashes and bones were found in 2 nearby cairns that were then destroyed. (1) Circle and four barrows shown north-east of Eyam and south-west of Grindleford Bridge. (2) The sites of these features were not determined. The name "Top of Riley" is no longer used locally but probably refers to area SK 226768. (3) [SK 23007719]. A circular bank, smaller in diameter but otherwise similar to the Eyam stone circle [SMR 5452], also possible sites of four cairns, visible on aerial photographs. (4) Nothing now survives of the cairnfield at Top of Riley, all sites were destroyed upon enclosure. The cairnfield probably stood somewhere on the gentle east-facing slopes between Top Riley and Maglough Farm on land between 300 and 380m OD. A stone circle was recorded here by Wood (6) in 1842, who noted that there was 'recollection of a very large circle of stones of very high unhewn pillars, surrounded by a circular ridge of earth. It had an entrance if not two'. This has been interpreted by Aubrey Burl (7) as a possible circle-henge. However, the location suggests that it was far more likely to have been an embanked stone circle, similar to Wet Withens [SMR 5452]. Wood also noted two cairns nearby which were found to contain cremations in 'urns' when they were destroyed. Bateman (8) noted two urns were found at Top O'Riley in 1828; one contained 'ashes and arrowheads of flint. (5, 9)

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Wood, W. 1842. History and Antiquities of Eyam.
  • <2> Map: Ward, J. 1905. Map published in the Victoria County History for Derbyshire. 1/4" = 1 mile. p 158.
  • <3> Personal Observation: F1 BHS 16-NOV-65.
  • <4> Aerial Photograph: OS. O.S. A.P.s 68/288/099-100.
  • <5> Article in serial: Barnatt, J. 1986. 'Bronze Age remains on the East Moors of the Peak District', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 106, pp 18-100. p 71.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Wood, W. 1842. History and Antiquities of Eyam.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Burl, A. 1976. The Stone Circles of the British Isles.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: Bateman, T. 1848. Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire. p26.
  • <9> Monograph: Barnatt, J. 1990. The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District.
  • <10> Index: NDAT. 0918. 0918.



Grid reference SK 23 77 (point)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR1151

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Record last edited

Sep 23 2010 2:59PM

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