Round cairn on Stiperstones, 350m SSW of the Devil's Chair


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
Worthen with Shelve
National Grid Reference:
SO 36794 98795

Reasons for Designation

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The round cairn on Stiperstones 350m SSW of The Devil's Chair survives well and is a fine example of this monument class. Despite being disturbed in its upper levels it will retain archaeological deposits and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed. It is one of several similar monuments which occur on Stiperstones, and, as such, contributes information relating to the density of settlement, type of land use, burial practices and social structure of the prehistoric community occupying this area of upland during the Bronze Age.


The monument includes a substantial round cairn situated on the summit of Stiperstones, a narrow north to south orientated ridge of high ground. The cairn is visible as a large and well defined, flat topped stony mound 24m in diameter standing 1.7m high. Much of the fabric of the cairn is exposed showing it to be constructed of angular limestone blocks, the individual stones averaging some 0.3m in size. The western half of the cairn has an uneven surface and is heather covered. Two roughly circular hollows have been excavated to a depth of 0.9m in the south-west quarter. The northern half of the cairn is surmounted by a secondary mound or walled structure built of unweathered stones. It has a diameter of 7m and stands 1m above the level of the main cairn, the northern slope of this mound merges with that of the main cairn to give a uniform slope 2.7m high on the north side. The centre of this structure and the underlying cairn are hollowed to form a shooting butt 3m in diameter and 0.6m deep. The excavation of the cairn at this point has revealed a large natural boulder lying in situ beneath the cairn, it has dimensions of 1.8m long and 1.3m at its widest, tapering to a point and broken roughly two thirds along its length. It lies orientated east to west, the pointed end to the west. No ditch is visible surrounding the cairn from which material was quarried during the construction of the cairn though it is thought that one may survive as a buried feature approximately 3m wide.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

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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

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