Ancient Monuments

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Two small stone circles 530m ESE of King Arthur's Hall

A Scheduled Monument in St. Breward, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5674 / 50°34'2"N

Longitude: -4.6353 / 4°38'6"W

OS Eastings: 213473.236094

OS Northings: 77504.258095

OS Grid: SX134775

Mapcode National: GBR N6.FP5M

Mapcode Global: FRA 175K.PYZ

Entry Name: Two small stone circles 530m ESE of King Arthur's Hall

Scheduled Date: 30 April 1957

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004459

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 397

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Breward

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Breward

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes two small stone circles, situated on the upland ridge known as 'Emblance Downs', overlooking the upper De Lank River. The two stone circles are closely-located being approximately 2.5m apart on a WNW - ESE alignment. Both measured approximately 23m in diameter originally. The western circle survives as a ring of stones, including six uprights and two recumbent stones with up to three stone socket holes. The stones appear to have been irregularly spaced at between 4.5m to 5m apart and originally numbered about 15. Two fallen, and possibly displaced, stones lie near the centre of the circle. The stones vary in height from 0.3m to 1.2m high. Close to the centre of the circle is a low mound measuring 4.5m long by 3m wide and 0.4m high.

The eastern circle survives as four uprights and one recumbent stone varying in height from 0.1m to 0.7m. All are located on the southern part of the ring, although several further recumbent slabs lie beyond the perimeter of the circle. First recorded by Flinders Petrie in 1860 the stone circles have remained little changed.

A further stone circle to the south east and King Arthur's Hall to the WNW are the subject of separate schedulings.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-433225

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. 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. 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. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England sixteen are located on Bodmin Moor. They are a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity. Despite some disturbance and the loss of some stones, the two small stone circles 530m ESE of King Arthur's Hall survive comparatively well and will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, relative chronology, function, territorial, social, ritual and funerary significance and their overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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