Hoarstone stone circle and two round cairns 400m north west of Holly Cottage


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011022

Date first listed: 17-Feb-1927

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Mar-1995


Ordnance survey map of Hoarstone stone circle and two round cairns 400m north west of Holly Cottage
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Chirbury with Brompton

National Grid Reference: SO 32404 99923


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.

The Hoarstone stone circle survives well and is a good example of its class. It will retain valuable archaeological information contributing to an understanding of the social structure and religious beliefs of the prehistoric community for which it formed a significant focus. The two small cairns to the north of the circle appear undisturbed and will contain archaeological evidence relating to their construction and subsequent use. Environmental material relating to the landscape in which the cairns were constructed will survive sealed on the old land surface beneath the cairn mounds.


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


The monument includes Hoarstone or Marsh Pool stone circle and two small round cairns situated on level ground below Stapeley Hill. The circle includes 38 dolerite stones arranged in a circle with a diameter of 22m. The stones range in height from just protruding through the turf to 0.9m high. A single large boulder 1.2m high stands in the centre of the circle surrounded by a slight hollow 2m in diameter and 0.1m deep. The interior of the circle appears to be raised slightly, up to 0.1m, above the surrounding natural ground level. To the north of the circle are two small round cairns; the more westerly lies approximately 30m from the centre of the circle, the more easterly 32m. Both are visible as low earth and stone mounds 5m in diameter and up to 0.3m high. Although no longer visible as a surface feature each cairn will be surrounded by a ditch 1m wide from which material for the construction of the mound would have been quarried. A metal post set in concrete on the east edge of the circle is excluded from the scheduling though the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 19180

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing