This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Hethpool stone circles

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: Hethpool stone circles

List entry Number: 1010332

Location

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

County:

District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Kirknewton

National Park: NORTHUMBERLAND

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 21-Dec-1994

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 24584

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 regular stone circles comprise an arrangement of between one and three rings of from 20 to 30 upright stones. The diameters of these circles range between 20 and 30 metres. They are presently known only in upland contexts, the majority being located in Devon and Cornwall or Cumbria. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England only 28 are examples of this type. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity all surviving examples are worthy of preservation.

This monument is the only known example of this large regular type of stone circle in Northumberland and it is extremely rare to find such sites in the north of England. Furthermore, although this site has not been accurately dated, its style suggests that it is an early form of stone circle. Late Neolithic monuments are rare nationally and this site along with examples of henges in the Milfield Basin only four miles away will provide evidence of social organisation and religion in this area in the transition period between the Late Neolithic and the Bronze Age.

History

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

Details

This monument includes two stone circles located on a gravel river terrace at the head of the College Valley. The visible stones form a ruinous circle to the south whilst a group of outlying stones lie to the north. At least seven stones are recumbent. A further six stones associated with the northern group have been located below ground by probing. The evidence thus acquired suggests that the monument originally took the form of two closely spaced stone circles. The maximum height of the stones is 1m and several of them exhibit small chock stones wedged around their bases in order to keep them upright. This would suggest that they are still in their original position. The southern circle has a diameter of 61m by 42.7m with an average interval of 16m-20m between each stone, including those found by probing. The northern group measures about 60m by 45m. The whole site is overlain by ridge and furrow, indicating that this field has been ploughed in medieval times. It was during this period that many of the stones may have been disturbed.

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
Topping, P, 'Northern Archaeology' in Hethpool Stone Circle, (1981), 3-10
Topping, P, 'Northern Archaeology' in Hethpool Stone Circle, (1981), 3-10

National Grid Reference: NT 89266 27835

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. 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 - 1010332 .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 24-Nov-2017 at 12:23:45.

End of official listing