Broomrigg C: small stone circle in Broomrigg Plantation, 1010m south east of Street House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015274

Date first listed: 26-May-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Mar-1997


Ordnance survey map of Broomrigg C: small stone circle in Broomrigg Plantation, 1010m south east of Street House
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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: Ainstable

National Grid Reference: NY 54823 46456


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 carefully designed and laid out, 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. A small stone circle comprises a regular or irregular ring of between 7 and 16 stones with a diameter of between 4 and 20 metres. They are widespread throughout England although clusters are found on Dartmoor, the North Yorkshire Moors, in the Peak District and in the uplands of Cumbria and Northumberland. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England, over 100 are examples of small stone circles. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation.

Despite limited excavation Broomrigg C small stone circle survives reasonably well. 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 monuments to be found here. It will contribute to any further study of the ceremonial function of stone circles and other spatially associated monuments in the area.


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


The monument includes a small stone circle known as Broomrigg C. It is located in Broomrigg Plantation and includes a circle of 14 stones which enclose an internal area measuring approximately 16m east-west by 13m north-south. Limited excavation of the circle by Hodgson in 1948-9 found a burial cairn in the south west quadrant of the circle which covered a deep pit containing a stone cist composed of sandstone slabs. A short distance to the east a smaller disturbed cist was found. In the cairn's south east quadrant remains of several cremation burials were found together with urns and a number of grave goods including jet beads, a button and a bronze knife or awl. The excavator concluded that a small stone circle of 4.3m in diameter and represented by the remaining stones in the south west quadrant was the earliest construction here. A pit was dug in the centre, and an interment placed in a cist within; a cairn was then raised over the grave. At a later date the stone circle was demolished, apart from the south west arc, which was incorporated into the present surviving larger circle. More interments were then placed within this later circle. At the time of the excavation there was an outlying stone 14.5m south east of the circle's centre. The stone has subsequently been lost however. The socket hole for this stone is however included within the scheduling.

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: 27738

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hodgson, K S, Harper, Rev K, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The prehistoric Site At Broomrigg: The Excavations Of 1948-9, , Vol. L, (1950), 30-42

End of official listing