Stone circle on Summerhouse Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009118

Date first listed: 23-Jun-1964

Date of most recent amendment: 01-Aug-1994


Ordnance survey map of Stone circle on Summerhouse Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

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 - 1009118 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 20-Nov-2018 at 22:14:36.


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

County: Lancashire

District: Lancaster (District Authority)

Parish: Yealand Conyers

National Grid Reference: SD 49954 74356, SD 50045 74372, SD 50112 74289


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.

Despite the removal of some of the stones which originally formed part of the circle, the stone circle on Summerhouse Hill survives reasonably well. It is a rare example of this class of monument in Lancashire


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


The monument includes a stone circle surrounded by traces of a shallow ditch, together with two outlying stones located on the summit of Summerhouse Hill west of Yealand Conyers. It is divided into three separate areas. The monument includes a sub-circular enclosure of stones and socket holes; the socket holes indicate the former position of stones which originally formed part of the stone circle but which have since been removed. The stone circle includes four large stones of local limestone varying in size from 2.1m-3.3m long by 0.9m-1.8m wide by 1.3m-1.6m high, together with 13 slight depressions or hollows indicating the socket holes of stones which formed part of the original circle. A survey of the stone circle undertaken in the mid-1930's found the four surviving stones to be situated on the circumference of a circle 140m in diameter. Some of the socket holes lie on this circumference, some are slightly inside this line and others slightly outside. On the north west side of the stone circle there are traces of a ditch measuring c.3m wide and 0.4m deep which originally flanked the stone circle on all sides except the east. Approximately 30m west of the westernmost stone in the circle is a stone outlier, and approximately 48m ESE of the southernmost stone in the circle there is a second outlier. A drystone wall crossing the monument's western side is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath the wall 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: 23729

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
North, O H, Spence, J E, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Stone Circle, Summerhouse Hill, Yealand Conyers, , Vol. XXXVI, (1936), 69-70
Bowman, A, Single Monument Class Description - Large Irregular Stone Circles, (1990)
FMW Report, Capstick, B, Lancs 59a, (1988)

End of official listing