The Goodaver Stone Circle, 610m ESE of Tresibbet Farm
- 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.
- Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 20874 75150
Reasons for Designation
Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been
recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The
Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the
best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of
prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human
exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The
well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field
systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains
provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land
use through time. 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 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.
Of the 150 or so stone circles identified in England sixteen are located on
Bodmin Moor. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into
prehistoric ritual activity all surviving examples are worthy of preservation.
The Goodaver Stone Circle has survived reasonably well, despite its early 20th century reconstruction. It shows several distinctive features including the graded heights of its slabs and the flattening along one side of its plan, while its size and stone-spacing are typical of the six large regular stone circles on Bodmin Moor. The proximity of the circle to the broadly contemporary cairn, settlement sites and field systems demonstrates well the relationships between ritual activity, burial practices and farming during the Bronze Age.
The monument includes a prehistoric stone circle, known as the Goodaver Stone
Circle, situated on a broad ridge on the south-west edge of the Goodaver
Downs, bordering the east side of the upper River Fowey valley on southern
The Goodaver Stone Circle is visible as a near-circular arrangement of 23
end-set granite slabs. The plan of the stone circle is slightly flattened at
the east from a true circular course and measures 31.5m east-west by 32.7m
north-south. Its constituent slabs range from 0.8m to 1.3m high and are
graded, with the tallest in the south-east sector opposite the smallest to the
west and north-west. The slabs are fairly regularly spaced about the circle,
generally 2m-3.5m apart, with larger gaps in the north, ENE, south-east and
SSW sectors indicating the sites of at least seven missing slabs. The slab now
missing from the centre of the large south-eastern gap was recorded as present
until 1979 as a fallen slab, 1.8m long. If erect this would have been the
largest stone in the circle. The northern slab in the stone circle is split
into two adjoining, ground-fast parts. Although the sizes, grading and spacing
of the stone circle's slabs and the flattening of its plan on one side are
considered to be original features shared by other stone circles on Bodmin
Moor, the present appearance of the stone circle owes much to its
reconstruction in about 1906 by the Rev A H Malan, prior to which only three
of its slabs remained erect.
The stone circle is situated near a broadly contemporary funerary cairn,
located 50m to the south-east, and near extensive Bronze Age settlement sites
and field systems from 130m to the south-west on the upper slope of the Fowey
valley. Much later, post-medieval, peat cutting has resulted in a series of
irregular hollowed areas, generally 0.1m deep, around the stone circle and
impinging on parts of its interior.
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.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Barnatt, J, Prehistoric Cornwall: The Ceremonial Monuments, (1982)
Crossing, W, Crossing's Dartmoor Worker, (1966)
Andrew, C K C, 'Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries' in An Unrecorded Cornish Stone Circle, , Vol. 19, (1936), 350-1
Barnatt, J, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Lesser Known Stone Circles in Cornwall., , Vol. 19, (1980), 17-29
AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 281,
consulted 1993, Carter, A./Fletcher, M.J./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2075,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1006/CCRA record SX 27 NW 12,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1115,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1116,
Visit made on 14/5/1982, Sheppard, P.A., AM107 FMW report for CO 281, (1982)
Visit made on 15/9/1981, Sheppard, P.A., AM107 report for CO 281, (1981)
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