Shap Stone Alignment


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011637

Date first listed: 29-Sep-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Feb-1994


Ordnance survey map of Shap Stone Alignment
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Shap

National Grid Reference: NY 55149 15738, NY 55162 15930, NY 55548 15281, NY 55555 15269, NY 55837 15204, NY 55924 15091, NY 56052 14971, NY 56297 14779, NY 56589 14272, NY 56612 14369, NY 56742 14092, NY 56747 14118, NY 56755 14109, NY 56764 14101


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

Reasons for Designation

Stone alignments consist of upright stones set in a single line, or in two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are often sited close to prehistoric burial monuments, such as small cairns and cists, and to ritual monuments, such as stone circles, and are therefore considered to have had an important ceremonial function. Traditionally they are regarded as being of Bronze Age date but lack of precise dating together with circumstantial evidence - for example the fact that most appear on moorland which shows little sign of widespread colonisation until the Late Neolithic and the fact that some are slighted by Middle-Late Bronze Age structures - suggests that all or most were constructed during the first half of the second millenium BC. As such they provide rare evidence of ceremonial and ritual practices during this period. Due to their rarity and longevity as a monument type, all examples of stone alignments which are not extensively damaged will be considered worthy of protection. Shap stone alignment survives well and is a rare example of this class of monument in Cumbria. It is exceptionally long and lies close to other prehistoric monuments - notably Skellaw Hill bowl barrow and Shap stone circle. It thus indicates the importance of this area in prehistoric times and the diversity of monument classes to be found here. The monument will contribute to the study of the ceremonial function and date of stone alignments and other spatially associated monuments.


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


The monument is Shap stone alignment. It includes 14 unevenly spaced stones of varying height aligned approximately north-west/south-east over a distance of 2.4 kilometres lying west and north-west of Shap village. All the stones are local porphyritic granite. The monument is divided into 14 separate areas. The northerly stone - the Small Thunder Stone - has fallen and now lies flat. It measures c.2.5m by 2m and bears a cup and ring mark decoration. 190m to the south is the largest stone in the alignment - the Thunder Stone. This is a glacial erratic measuring c.10m in girth and up to 3m high. 610m south-east of the Thunder Stone is a roughly triangular stone 1m-1.5m high and c.3m in circumference now embedded in a drystone wall. 13m to the south-south-east is a fallen smaller rounded stone c.1.4m long by 1m broad. 290m to the east-south-east, and lying on its side, is a stone 3m long and 5.5m in girth. On this stone's wider end there is a cup and ring mark carving with a second cup mark close by. 140m to the south-east is the Goggleby Stone which stands 2m high, broad end uppermost, and has a circumference of 6.5m. It has a cup mark carving at its north-east angle. 170m to the south-east is a broken stone measuring up to 1.5m high and 3m in circumference embedded in a drystone wall. 310m to the south-east is a fallen triangular stone almost 3m long and over 6m in circumference. 520m to the south-east, in the garden of Aynfield, is a fallen rounded stone 2.2m high and 5m in circumference. 100m south-south-west is another fallen rounded stone measuring 2m long with a circumference of about 2.5m. 220m to the south-east is the most northerly of a group of 4 closely spaced smaller rounded stones lying in the gardens of Carleton Terrace. It lies in the garden of no.3. Another lies in the garden of no.5, and two are in the garden of no.6. The monument is thought to be of Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age date (c.2500 - 1600 BC). The setting of the Goggleby Stone was excavated in 1975 prior to re-erection after it had fallen. A flint scraper, one piece of chert and one chert flake were found amongst rubble used for packing around the stone's base. All drystone walls into which the stones have been incorporated are excluded from the scheduling; also excluded are all fences, garden walls, paths, public footpaths, a garage and a shed situated adjacent to the stones although the ground beneath all these features 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: 22496

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Burn, , History of Westmorland, (1777)
Camden, W, Britannia, (1586)
Clare, T, 'Trand Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Recent Work On The Shap Avenue, , Vol. LXXVIII, (1978), 5-16
FMW Report, Crow, J, Shap Standing Stone and Stone Circle, (1985)
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)
SMR No 3001, Cumbria SMR, Shap Standing Stone and Stone Circle, (1985)
SMR No. 3001, Cumbria SMR, Shap Standing Stone and Stone Circle, (1985)
To Robinson,K.D. MPPFW, Mr Bindloss (site tenent), (1992)

End of official listing