Grey Yauds stone circle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007233

Date first listed: 26-Aug-1924


Ordnance survey map of Grey Yauds stone circle
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Carlisle (District Authority)

Parish: Cumwhitton

National Grid Reference: NY 54484 48663


Grey Yauds Stone Circle.

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 irregular stone circles comprise a ring of at least 20 stone uprights. The diameters of surviving examples range between 20 and 40 metres, although it is known that larger examples, now destroyed, formerly existed. The stone uprights of this type of circle tend to be more closely spaced than in other types of circle and the height and positioning of uprights also appears not to have been as important. They are widely distributed throughout England although in the south they are confined largely to the west. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England only 45 examples of large irregular circles are known. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity all surviving examples are worthy of preservation.

Despite the loss of much of the standing remains of Grey Yauds Stone Circle one monolith remains standing and the size of the removed stones indicates that there will be below ground archaeological deposits within features such as stone sockets that will relate to the construction, use and abandonment of the stone circle. The monument is of a rare and highly important monument type and is particularly characteristic of its period. The monument provides insight into the importance of ritual observance and the character of cosmology during the Late Neolithic/Bronze Age periods.


See Details.


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 Late Neolithic/Bronze Age stone circle, situated on level ground overlooked by higher ground to the west and with ground sloping down towards Cairn Beck to the east. The standing remains of the stone circle include a single triangular shaped monolith measuring approximately 1.7m high and 1m wide with inscribed lines criss-crossing it. Records from 1777 suggest that the circle was originally 47.5m in diameter and contained 88 large stones arranged in a circle with one outlier located 4.6m to the north west.


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

Legacy System number: CU 71

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape Monument No:- 12369

End of official listing