Prehistoric standing stone 500m NNE of Spettigue Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011504

Date first listed: 22-Jun-1938

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Sep-1993


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric standing stone 500m NNE of Spettigue Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Altarnun

National Grid Reference: SX 21298 79518

Reasons for Designation

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments, as well as later industrial remains, provides significant insight into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Standing stones are ceremonial monuments dating from the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age (c.2400-700 BC). They comprise single or paired upright slabs, ranging in height from under 1m to over 6m, where still erect. Standing stones are often conspicuously sited and sometimes are located in or on the edge of round barrows or cairns. Excavations have demonstrated sub-surface features adjacent to standing stones, including stone funerary cists, spreads of small pebbles and various pits and hollows filled in some cases with human bone, cremations, charcoal and domestic artefacts. Similar deposits have been found in excavated sockets for standing stones, which vary considerably in depth. Standing stones may have functioned as markers for routeways, territorial boundaries, graves and meeting points, but their adjacent features show that they also bore a ritual function, forming one of the several known ritual monument classes of their period. Estimates suggest that about 250 standing stones are known nationally, of which the 16 examples surviving on Bodmin Moor form an important sub-group. They are a long-lived class of monument, highly representative of their period and all examples except those which are extensively damaged are considered to be of national importance.

This standing stone near Spettigue Farm has survived well, displaying rare evidence for its deliberate shaping. Its proximity to broadly contemporary hut circle settlements and field systems demonstrates well the relationships between ritual and agricultural activities during the Bronze Age.


The monument includes a prehistoric standing stone situated near the centre of a broad north-easterly ridge on the north-east edge of Bodmin Moor, close to broadly contemporary hut circle settlements and field systems and to the main historical route across Bodmin Moor. The standing stone survives as an end-set, near-vertical, granite slab of slender triangular section, leaning slightly towards the south. It stands 2.5m high and measures up to 1.1m wide across its main north-east and SSW faces, which meet along its western and upper edges, and is up to 0.7m thick across its narrow south-easterly face. The north-east face has a markedly convex, weathered surfaced while the SSW face has a flatter, eroded fractured surface. The narrow south-east face is similarly fractured and eroded, and gives the slab a slender wedge-shaped form whose main faces have almost parallel sides, tapering very slightly from the blunt pointed upper edge. All edges are very eroded but include some weathered traces of deliberate shaping by rough flaking and battering, especially along the western edge and the south-easterly half of the upper edge. Some relatively recent stock erosion about the base of the slab has revealed numerous smaller stones, up to 0.3m across, including some ground-fast examples typical of packing stones used to support such standing stones in position. Beyond this monument, broadly contemporary hut circle settlements and field systems are situated around the north-east end of the ridge, from 300m to the north-east, while the main medieval and later route across Bodmin Moor passes along the western side of the ridge, 300m to the north-west. A recent study of the archaeology of Bodmin Moor has drawn attention to the possible prehistoric use of this routeway, keeping to higher ground and marked by standing stones, specifically including this monument, in the same manner that the medieval route was marked by wayside crosses, one of which is situated 575m to the south-west.

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: 15216

Legacy System: RSM


CAU/RCHME, The Bodmin Moor Survey, Unpubl. draft text. Ch.4, 1.3, fig 17
consulted 5/1992, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2179,
consulted 5/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1004,
consulted 5/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1009,
consulted 5/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1104,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map, SX 27/37 Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SX21297951
Title: 6": 1 mile Ordnance Survey Map, Cornall XXI NE Source Date: 1907 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing