Small stone circle on Smelting Hill, 560m north east of Lane End Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016998

Date first listed: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Small stone circle on Smelting Hill, 560m north east of Lane End Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)

Parish: Abney and Abney Grange

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 20275 80394


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

Reasons for Designation

The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors. On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England as well settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time. A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, will be identified as nationally important.

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. Burial cairns may also be found close to and, on occasions, within the circle. Stone circles are found throughout England, although they are concentrated in western areas, with particular clusters in the uplands. 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 to the societies that used them. In many instances excavation has revealed that they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied the interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had calendrical functions, helping to mark the passage of time and the seasons. At other sites the spacing of individual circles throughout the landscape has led to the 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 4m and 20m. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England, over 100 are examples of small stone circles. As a monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation. The small stone circle 560m north east of Lane End Farm is well preserved and will contribute to the study of Bronze Age ceremonial activity on these moorlands.


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


The monument includes the remains of a small, embanked, stone circle situated close to the edge of a gritstone escarpment known as Smelting Hill. It stands on a well defined platform cut into the hillslope which faces to the east. It is interpreted as a ceremonial structure and is part of a complex of prehistoric features on the same moorlands. The stone circle embankment measures approximately 11m in diameter and has a width of about 1.5m-2m, creating an internal diameter of approximately 7.5m. The embankment has been eroded and is damaged at its eastern end with most of the surviving bank standing only a few centimetres high. There is no trace of a central feature as found in some similar monuments in the region, although this area appears to survive undisturbed and is therefore likely to contain buried features. There are at least two surviving orthostats (upright stones), although one has now fallen. The remaining upright stone stands approximately 0.75m high. Traces of other stones in the embankment, now almost buried by turf, may also be fallen orthostats. The stone circle overlooks a prehistoric cairnfield to the north and there are also several cairns nearby on the edge of the escarpment.

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: 31252

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 69-70
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 69-70
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 66-8

End of official listing