Ring cairn and two round cairns on Hoare Edge, 550m south east of Nine Springs Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 59629 76822

Reasons for Designation

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by fieldwork and ground level survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite some disturbance the ring cairn on Hoare Edge survives in a good state of preservation and is a fine example of its class, rare in the county of Shropshire. Together with the two round cairns, which lie in close proximity to each other and which are both good examples of their class, it forms part of a well preserved group of monuments. Each cairn will retain archaeological deposits, and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which they were constructed, sealed beneath their mounds and in the ditch fills. Such a concentration of sepulchral cairns indicates that this area of high ground was a focus of ritual activity during the Bronze Age. Considered as a group and in association with other monuments of a similar age on the nearby Titterstone Clee Hill, they contribute valuable information relating to the land use, density of settlement, burial practices and social structure of the prehistoric community which occupied this area during the Bronze Age.


The monument was first recorded by C Hartshorne in 1837-8, who described it as, 'four remarkable carnedds and the base of a fifth on Hoare Edge'. Two stone rings and a string of amber beads believed to have been found in a barrow on Hoare Edge were exhibited by the Rev Henry Brown to the Cambrian Archaeological Association in 1851. Today a ring cairn and two round cairns are clearly visible on Hoare Edge, situated above the western scarp of the spur. The ring cairn is well defined and lies set a short way back from the scarp edge on the level summit of the spur to the south of the two round cairns. It is a circular enclosure 22m in diameter, ringed by an outer bank of turf covered stone 3m wide and 0.8m high, rising to a 4m wide swathe of exposed angular dolorite blocks. It remains intact around all sides except the east, where it is interrupted for a length of 6m, probably as a result of past exploration. Immediately inside this break is a setting of turf-fast stones arranged in an oval 2m long by 1.5m wide. Though slight it may represent the kerb stone remains of a chamber or cist. Built into the fabric of the ring in the south quarter is a small enclosure, 2m long by 1.2m wide, with walls up to 0.8m high, it has a 1m wide gap in the wall on its south side from which two parallel lines of stone curve out to form an entrance passage. Immediately to the south and east of this feature, adjacent to the outer bank of the ring cairn is a roughly circular mound of turfed covered stone 5m in diameter and up to 0.4m high with a rough horseshoe of stone 2.5m wide at its widest point alongside it. These features appear to be spoil from an exploration of the ring cairn and are regarded as an integral part of the monument. The interior of the ring cairn is level and free of any surface stone or visible structure. Although there is no surface evidence to suggest the existence of a surrounding ditch, from which material for the construction of the mound would have been quarried, it is thought that one will survive as a buried feature with an estimated width of 2m. Situated 50m to the north of the ring cairn, in a false crest position on the edge of the scarp, are two round cairns. The northern and largest of the two is visible as a substantial and well defined stony mound 16.4m in diameter, varying between 2m high on its downslope, west side, and 1.4m on its uphill, east, side. The centre of the cairn has been disturbed, perhaps during the 19th century exploration, creating a circular depression 5m in diameter and 0.6m deep. The fabric of the cairn exposed by this disturbance shows it to be constructed of angular blocks of the local dolorite with an average size of 20cm. Adjacent to the cairn on its south side is an artificial arrangement of stones forming a small oval enclosure 2.3m east to west by 1.7m transversely and with a central single stone. Some 12m to the south west of the cairn is a second, smaller round cairn. It is visible as a well defined and apparently undisturbed turf covered mound 6.5m in diameter and 0.6m high. Neither of the round cairns show any surface indications of a surrounding ditch, from which material for their construction would have been quarried. It is however thought that, in both cases, a ditch will survive as a buried feature, estimated as 2m wide in the case of the larger northern cairn and 1m in the case of the smaller. The close proximity of this group of cairns to each other indicates that the area was a focus of ritual activity at some time during the Bronze Age. The area immediately surrounding the cairns and between them is therefore likely to contain significant evidence of this activity and is accordingly included in the area of the scheduling. The modern footpath guide post near the centre of the area is excluded from the scheduling though the ground beneath it 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.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Chitty, L F, 'Arch Camb' in Arch Camb, , Vol. LXXXIX, (1934), 110-11
Hartshorne, , 'Salopia Antiqua' in Salopia Antiqua, (1841), 25
Os card no SO57NE10, Bush, F K, Salopia Antiqua, (1968)
OS card no SO57NE10, Bush, FK, (1968)


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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