Stone circle NW of Seascale How Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007159

Date first listed: 23-Aug-1974


Ordnance survey map of Stone circle NW of Seascale How Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Copeland (District Authority)

Parish: Seascale

National Grid Reference: NY 03332 02412, NY 03335 02378


Stone Circle, north west of Seascale How.

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 about 4m to 20m. 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 stone circle north west of Seascale How is a rare monument type, is reasonably well-preserved and excavation has indicated that it will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment. The monument is highly representative of its period and provides insight into cosmology and ritual practice in the Bronze Age period.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 23 March 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes the remains of a stone circle of Bronze Age date, situated on level ground close to and overlooking the Cumbrian coast. The circle, known as Grey Croft Stone Circle, includes ten standing stones set in a circular arrangement with a diameter of approximately 27m with an additional recumbent outlying stone located 16.5m north of the north edge of the circle. The original circle of 12 standing stones was knocked down in 1820 before being re-erected in 1949. During the re-erection partial excavation of the monument revealed that the stone sockets contained their original stone packing material. A stone axe from the Langdale, flint flakes, a scraper and a jet ring were also found.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: CU 287

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape Monument No:- 8753

End of official listing