Broomrigg A: large irregular stone circle and associated stone alignment in Broomrigg Plantation, 820m south east of Street House

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015273

Date first listed: 26-May-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Mar-1997

Map

Ordnance survey map of Broomrigg A: large irregular stone circle and associated stone alignment in Broomrigg Plantation, 820m south east of Street House
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Location

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

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Ainstable

National Grid Reference: NY 54788 46740

Summary

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.

Stone alignments consist of upright stones set in a single line or two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are often sited close to prehistoric burial monuments and are therefore considered to have had an important ceremonial function. Stone alignments were being constructed and used from the Late Neolithic period to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2500-1000 BC) and provide rare evidence of ceremonial and ritual practices during this period. Despite the loss of some of the circle's stones, Broomrigg A large irregular stone circle survives reasonably well and is a rare example in north west England of a stone circle with an associated double stone alignment. It is one of a number of prehistoric monuments within Broomrigg Plantation including small and large stone circles, burial cairns, hut circles and standing stones, and thus indicates the importance of this area in prehistoric times and the diversity of monument types to be found here. It will contribute to any further study of the ceremonial function of stone circles, stone alignments, and other spatially associated monuments in the area.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a large irregular stone circle known as Broomrigg A together with an associated double stone alignment. It is located in Broomrigg Plantation and includes a circle of red sandstone stones originally of approximately 55m in diameter of which only the north western arc of stones still remain largely in situ. Of these surviving stones three stand between 0.5m-0.9m high; elsewhere stones have either been removed or are loose and their positions are no longer thought to reflect their original location. To the north west of the stone circle there is a double stone alignment c.35m wide each alignment having three stones. The stones forming the western alignment appear to be in situ with the farthest stone being c.112m from the edge of the circle; the eastern stone alignment, however, may have been disturbed as the middle stone is now located slightly out of alignment adjacent to a nearby drystone wall. Limited excavation of the circle by Hodgson in 1950 found that the socket holes for the stones had been carefully made and packed with small stones. The stones of the circle were set c.0.25m into the ground. A modern drystone wall crossing the monument is excluded from the scheduling, althought the ground beneath 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 27737

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 107-9
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 107-10
Hodgson, K, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Further Excavations at Broomrigg, Ainstable, , Vol. LII, (1952), 5-8
Hodgson, K S, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Notes on Stone Circles at Broomrigg, Grey Yauds etc, , Vol. XXXIV, (1934), 77-8
Other
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Stone Alignment, (1988)

End of official listing