Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Three standing stones 550m, 700m and 820m north of Damage Barton

A Scheduled Monument in Ilfracombe, Devon

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Latitude: 51.197 / 51°11'49"N

Longitude: -4.1883 / 4°11'17"W

OS Eastings: 247197.206

OS Northings: 146471.9375

OS Grid: SS471464

Mapcode National: GBR KK.4W87

Mapcode Global: VH3PV.C55Q

Entry Name: Three standing stones 550m, 700m and 820m north of Damage Barton

Scheduled Date: 2 December 1968

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002572

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 650

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Ilfracombe

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Lee St Matthew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument, which falls into three areas, includes three standing stones situated on a prominent coastal hill which forms the watershed between two small streams and overlooks Bull Point. The standing stones survive as upright, earthfast monoliths in a linear arrangement spaced approximately 150m apart. The southern stone measures up to 0.7m long, 0.6m wide and 0.8m high and contains seams of quartz. The central stone is leaning slightly, composed mainly of white quartz and measures 0.6m square and up to 1.2m high. The northern stone is composed entirely of white quartz, is slightly pointed at the top and measures 0.6m long, 0.5m wide and 1.35m high.
A similar monument lies to the east and is the subject of a separate scheduling.

Sources: Devon HER:-213, 214 and 215
NMR:-SS44NE1, SS44NE2 and SS44NE3
PastScape Monument No:-33360, 33363 and 33366

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Standing stones are prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments with dates ranging from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age for the few excavated examples. They comprise single or paired upright orthostatic slabs, ranging from under lm to over 6m high where still erect. They are often conspicuously sited and close to other contemporary monument classes. They can be accompanied by various features: many occur in or on the edge of round barrows, and where excavated, associated subsurface features have included stone cists, stone settings, and various pits and hollows filled in with earth containing human bone, cremations, charcoal, flints, pots and pot sherds. Similar deposits have been found in excavated sockets for standing stones, which range considerably in depth. Several standing stones also bear cup and ring marks. Standing stones may have functioned as markers for routeways, territories, graves, or meeting points, but their accompanying features show they also bore a ritual function and that they form one of several ritual monument classes of their period that often contain a deposit of cremation and domestic debris as an integral component. No national survey of standing stones has been undertaken, and estimates range from 50 to 250 extant examples, widely distributed throughout England but with concentrations in Cornwall, the North Yorkshire Moors, Cumbria, Derbyshire and the Cotswolds. Standing stones are important as nationally rare monuments, with a high longevity and demonstrating the diversity of ritual practices in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. The three standing stones 550m, 700m and 820m north of Damage Barton survive well and are mainly composed of quartz which seems to have held a particular significance to prehistoric societies and is often found within both domestic and ritual settings. The spectacular coastal site and prominent location of these stones and their close association with others in the vicinity add to their ritual significance. All three are firmly earthfast and are likely to be in their original positions.

Source: Historic England

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