Small stone circle and central cairn on Eyam Moor, 370m south of Fern Cottage


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018478

Date first listed: 21-Jan-1999


Ordnance survey map of Small stone circle and central cairn on Eyam Moor, 370m south of Fern Cottage
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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: Eyam

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 23235 78810


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 upright or recumbent stones. Burial cairns may be found close to and on occasion within the circle. These monuments are found throughout England, although they are concentrated in western areas with particular clusters in upland regions. Where excavated they have been found to date from the late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2400-1000 BC). 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. Of the 250 or so examples identified in England, over 100 of these are small stone circles of between seven and 16 upright stones. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation. The stone circle 370m south of Fern Cottage is well preserved and contains a central cairn. Significant information on the history and use of this site will survive.


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


The monument includes a small prehistoric stone circle with central cairn located on gently shelving land at the eastern edge of Eyam Moor. The circle stands close to contemporary cairnfields and related monuments. The stone circle consists of six surviving stones arranged in a ring measuring 13m by 12.5m. Four of the stones stand upright, the other two are now fallen. The stones range between 0.25m and 1.1m in height. It is recorded that there were nine stones in the ring during the 19th century. Within the circle of stones stands a large oval cairn orientated north-south, measuring 8.5m by 6m and standing about 0.6m high. The cairn has a deep trench cut along its axis although much of the original fabric still survives. The trench is likely to be the result of 18th or 19th century antiquarian excavation. The ring of free-standing stones without an embankment is unusual in the local region. A fallen orthostat (upright boulder) on the ESE side of the circle now bears a boundary mark. The monument is interpreted as a Bronze Age stone circle of which a few survive in the local region. The central cairn was probably funerary in purpose, forming a complex ceremonial monument.

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: 31231

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 74-5

End of official listing