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Large irregular stone circle at Stanton Drew south east of Church Farm

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Large irregular stone circle at Stanton Drew south east of Church Farm

List entry Number: 1007915

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Bath and North East Somerset

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Stanton Drew

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 18-Aug-1882

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Sep-1994

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 22861

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

The large irregular stone circle south east of Church Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This site represents an integral part of the Stanton Drew complex and as such will contribute to our understanding of later prehistoric activity within this area.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a large irregular stone circle situated on a low ridge overlooking a dry valley to the south and the valley of the River Chew to the east. The circle lies 138m to the south west of the main complex of stone circles and associated avenues at Stanton Drew. The monument has 13 stones irregularly spaced producing a sub-oval plan with a diameter of 45m. Many of these stones are now recumbent, although they are likely to have originally been standing. The stones include dolomitic conglomerate, sandstone and oolitic limestone blocks which could all have been collected from within six miles of the site. There is one stone visible within the centre of the site and this is likely to relate to a central setting which has become buried. The monument has been in State care since 1883. Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts which relate to field boundaries, although the underlying ground is included.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Stanton Drew Stone Circles and associated monuments, (1985), 2

National Grid Reference: ST 59919 63070

Map

Map
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1007915 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 17-Oct-2017 at 06:48:45.

End of official listing