Knapperthaw stone circle
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007223
Date first listed: 04-Dec-1924
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: South Lakeland (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SD 28001 84236
Stone Circle 470m NNE of Knapperthaw.
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 designed and laid out carefully, 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. Large regular stone circles comprise an arrangement of between one and three rings of from 20 to 30 stones. The diameters of these circles range between 20 and 30 metres. They are presently known only in upland contexts, the majority being located in Devon and Cornwall or Cumbria. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity all surviving examples are worthy of preservation. Knapperthaw stone circle is preserved as an upstanding earthwork and will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction and use.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 25 February 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 of late Neolithic/Bronze Age embanked stone circle or ring cairn, situated on a level platform on a north facing slope. The monument includes a circular enclosed area approximately 30m in diameter surrounded by a turf-covered stoney bank. The bank has indications of an inner kerb and is about 0.3m high on the south east side and 0.5m on the north west side with an average width of 5m. On top of the north west quadrant of the bank are at least five recumbent stones: This has been interpreted as indicating that the bank was once topped by a full circle of stones.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: CU 96
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:- 38613
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing