Small stone circle on Standingstones Rigg, 720m north west of Linglands Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020439

Date first listed: 05-Dec-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Oct-2001


Ordnance survey map of Small stone circle on Standingstones Rigg, 720m north west of Linglands Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Cloughton

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Harwood Dale


National Grid Reference: SE 98247 96976


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.

Prehistoric rock art is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland, Durham and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of decoration is the `cup and ring' marking, where expanses of small cup-like hollows are pecked into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more `rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the rings may also exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Pecked lines or grooves can also exist in isolation from cup and ring decoration. Other shapes and patterns also occur, but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups, or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide one of our most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols. Frequently they are found close to contemporary burial monuments and the symbols are also found on portable stones placed directly next to burials or incorporated into burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock art have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed in activities such as quarrying. All positively identified prehistoric rock art sites exhibiting a significant group of designs normally will be identified as nationally important. Despite limited disturbance, the small stone circle on Standingstones Rigg, 720m north west of Linglands Farm has survived well. Significant information about the date, form of construction and sequence of development will be preserved. Evidence for the nature of the rituals associated with its use and the date and form of the burials placed within it will be preserved within the circle. Evidence for earlier land use and the contemporary environment will also survive beneath the mound. The stone circle is one of only a few examples of this monument type to have been identified in the area of the North York Moors, and its form is unlike any other in this area. It is situated close to a cairnfield in an area which also includes many other prehistoric ritual and funerary monuments. This type of association offers important scope for the study of the relationship between social, ritual and agricultural activity in the prehistoric period.


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


The monument includes a small stone circle which is situated in a prominent position towards the top of a gentle south west facing slope, on Middle Jurassic sandstone at the eastern edge of the North York Moors. The circle has a flat-topped mound of earth and stone which measures 14m in diameter and stands up to 0.6m high. Around the top edge of the mound there is a ring of 15 earthfast stones, which has an internal diameter of 8m. The stones are between 0.4m and 1.2m high, although most lean outwards. Six of the stones have fallen. The stone circle has the best preservation on its west side, where there are eight stones spaced between 1m and 1.5m apart. Originally there were 24 stones in the circle, but some have been removed over the years for reuse elsewhere. Some disturbed stones lie on the perimeter of the mound. In the centre of the mound there are three closely spaced orthostats which stand up to 0.6m high around a slight hollow. A second hollow lies to the east. The hollows are the resultial of partial excavation in antiquity. It is thought that this excavation uncovered a cist, consisting of stone slabs set vertically into the mound to surround and cover a burial, four of which were decorated with cup and ring marks. The cup and ring marked stones have been removed and are no longer visible, but one of the undecorated vertical slabs of stone survives and can be seen along the edge of the eastern hollow. The monument is situated in an area where there are many other prehistoric monuments, including further ritual and burial sites, as well as field systems and clearance cairns. The field boundary walls which end to the immediate north and south of the monument, and the fence which surrounds the monument to separate it from the forest to the west and the field to the east are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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.


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

Legacy System number: 34677

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bradley, R, The Significance of Monuments, (1998), 132-146
Pacitto, A L, AM107, (1983)
Title: Forestry Commission Areas North York Moors Archaeological Survey Source Date: 1992 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Site 5.63

End of official listing