Ancient Monuments

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Kiftsgate Stone

A Scheduled Monument in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 52.0491 / 52°2'56"N

Longitude: -1.8043 / 1°48'15"W

OS Eastings: 413513.87085

OS Northings: 238989.704228

OS Grid: SP135389

Mapcode National: GBR 4NF.DNC

Mapcode Global: VHB12.NRZH

Entry Name: Kiftsgate Stone

Scheduled Date: 25 June 1973

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003590

English Heritage Legacy ID: GC 444

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Chipping Campden

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Weston-sub-Edge with Aston-sub-Edge

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


Standing stone re-used as a moot called the Kiftsgate Stone.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 25 September 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a standing stone re-used as a moot and situated on a relatively steep south east facing slope of a prominent ridge overlooking the valley of The Cam. The standing stone survives as an upright earthfast monolith which measures approximately 1m high, 0.7m wide and 0.2m thick and has a single perforation. The name ‘Kifts’ is thought to be derived from the Old English ‘cyft’ meaning ‘meeting or conference’ and so ‘Kiftsgate’ would imply this was a gap or gateway where meetings were held (which may also explain the perforation if the stone supported a gate) thus making this the moot for the hundred of Kiftsgate. The stone was also used as a central point for making local and national announcements including proclamations regarding coronations up until William IV (1830).

The origin of the standing stone as a prehistoric feature is not known with certainty but its re-use as the moot strongly implies the possibility since it would have been a well known landmark. It also lies close to the parish boundary between Chipping Campden and Weston Subedge which serves to confirm the long established territorial significance of this feature.

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.

Moots were open-air meeting places set aside for use by courts and other bodies who were responsible for the administration and organisation of the countryside in Anglo-Saxon and medieval England. They were located at convenient, conspicuous or well-known sites, often centrally placed within the area under jurisdiction, usually a hundred, wapentake, or shire. The meeting place could take several forms: a natural feature such as a hilltop, tree or rock; existing man-made features such as prehistoric standing stones, barrows or hillforts; or a purpose-built monument such as a mound. Moots appear to have been first established during the early medieval period between the seventh and ninth centuries AD. Examples are recorded in the Domesday Book and other broadly contemporary documents. Initially, moots were situated in open countryside but, over time, they were relocated in villages or towns. The construction and use of rural moots declined after the 13th century. It is estimated that there were between 250 and 1000 moots in medieval England, although only a proportion of these survive today. Moots are generally a poorly understood class of monument with considerable potential to provide information on the organisation and administration of land units in the Middle Ages. They are a comparatively rare and long-lived type of monument and the earliest examples will be amongst a very small range of sites predating the Norman Conquest which survive as monumental earthworks and readily appreciable landscape features.

The standing stone re-used as a moot called the Kiftsgate Stone survives well and will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its erection, longevity, function, re-use, territorial significance through time, social, political and ritual significance and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape 330605

Source: Historic England

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