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Monument record MDR4858 - Hirst Stones (possible site of), north-east of Riber Castle, Riber, Matlock Town

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Glover's Directory of 1831 has the following: 'On the eminence above Matlock church, called Riber hill, are the remains of what has been supposed a druidical altar, but which has more resemblance to a cromlech; though it may probably have only been intended as a point for the transmittal of signals. It is called the Hirst Stones, and consists of four rude masses of gritstone : one of which, apparently the smallest, is placed on the others and is computed to weight about two tons. On the upper stone is a circular hole, six inches deep and nine in diameter, wherein, about fifty years ago, stood a stone pillar. (1) Bateman gives an almost identical description to that transcribed above (presumably he provided the original description to Glover for the Directory). (2) Bray's 'Tour' of 1783 refers to the presence 'on the top of the hill called Riber … a stone said to have been formerly a rocking stone… It is not very large and is placed on two other stones'. Other antiquaries refer to it as 'a Druidical altar' or 'a cromlech'. In 1835 Jewitt recorded that the stone had partly been broken up, although the large stone which formed the base still remained intact at that time and formed part of a field wall. However, in 1887 Bryan was unable to find 'even the lower part of the monument in anything like its pristine form', although he thought he was able to identify the wall of which it had formed part. (3) SK 309 591. Hirst stones: formerly on Riber Hill. A burial chamber consisting of 3 uprights and capstone. Destroyed in the 19th century. (4) This site has been postulated to have been a megalithic chamber on the basis of several early texts (reviewed by Authority 3). These are probably better interpreted as a natural 'rocking stone'. Bateman saw the site (by far the most reliable of 19th century antiquarians) - he interpreted it in this way. (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Glover, S. 1831. The History and Gazetteer of the County of Derby. p 242.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Bateman, T. 1848. Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire. p 120.
  • <3> Article in serial: Bryan, B. 1887. 'On a cromlech formerly standing on Riber Hill, Matlock, in the County of Derby', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 9, pp 39-44.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Marsden, B. 1977. The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire. p 5.
  • <5> Index: NDAT. 2775. 2775.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Barnatt, J. 1989. The Peak District Barrow Survey (updated 1994). Site 29:L.



Grid reference SK 308 591 (point) Centre

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Record last edited

Nov 1 2022 3:17PM

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