Ring cairn and shieling immediately west of Chatley Crags


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020342

Date first listed: 02-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Ring cairn and shieling immediately west of Chatley Crags
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Henshaw


National Grid Reference: NY 75094 70302


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

Reasons for Designation

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by fieldwork and ground level survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

The ring cairn immediately west of Chatley Crags is well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a number of prehistoric monuments in the Hadrian's Wall corridor which, taken together, will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of settlement and activity at this time.


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


The monument includes a ring cairn of Bronze Age date, situated in a prominent position on a gentle south facing slope below Chatley Crags, commanding extensive views to the south east and south west. The cairn is visible as a sub-circular enclosure measuring 30m north to south by 25m east to west within a bank of stone and earth up to 2m wide. There are a series of upright slabs within the bank facing inwards. Several of the stones in the eastern and south western parts of the monument have been removed at a later date in order to build a small rectangular structure, visible within the eastern half of the enclosure. This later structure, which measures 8.5m by 5m, is interpreted as a shieling of medieval date. Limited excavation in 1994 showed that the monument is a complex structure of several phases. A large pit placed near the centre of the monument was uncovered, which it is thought contains the remains of a burial.

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: 28590

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Adams, M, Survey and excavations at a stone circle on Gibbs Hill Farm, (1995)
Adams, M, Survey and excavations at a stone circle on Gibbs Hill Farm, (1995)

End of official listing