Ancient Monuments

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Two large regular stone circles 290m north east of Hailglower Farm

A Scheduled Monument in St. Just, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.1336 / 50°8'1"N

Longitude: -5.6588 / 5°39'31"W

OS Eastings: 138630.867195

OS Northings: 32362.706058

OS Grid: SW386323

Mapcode National: GBR DXDB.BRR

Mapcode Global: VH057.VWSY

Entry Name: Two large regular stone circles 290m north east of Hailglower Farm

Scheduled Date: 31 May 1951

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004493

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 305

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Just

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Just-in-Penwith

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes two large regular stone circles situated on Truthwall Common, with rising ground to the prominent Carn Kenidjack to the north and Carn Vres to the SSE. They are known locally as the 'Tregeseal Circles' or 'The Dancing Stones'. The eastern circle survives as an oval ring of 19 stones measuring approximately 23.8m by 22.6m. Only one of the stones is recumbent and the heights of the stones vary between 0.8m and 1.5m. There is a limited area of quarrying on the western side of the circle. To the west, and separated from the first circle by a field wall, is the second circle which originally consisted of an approximately 23m diameter ring of about 19 stones. Only one stone remains visible, built into the field wall. The rest are either buried or missing, although the socket holes and associated features will be preserved as buried features. Borlase initially recorded the two circles in the mid-19th century. Since then both circles deteriorated with the small quarry encroaching between 1861- 9 until by 1902 there were no upright stones in the western part of the eastern circle. In 1932 Hencken discovered the eastern circle had been completely 'restored'. The western circle had continued to deteriorate, and in 1905 there were clearance cairns around the stones. By 1961 most of the stones has been removed or buried.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-421794

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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 designed and laid out carefully, 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. Large regular stone circles comprise an arrangement of between one and three rings of from 20 to 30 upright stones. The diameters of these circles range between 20 and 30 metres. They are presently known only in upland contexts, the majority being located in Devon and Cornwall or Cumbria. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England only 28 are examples of this type. Despite cultivation, quarrying, robbing and restoration the two large regular stone circles 290m north east of Hailglower Farm, survive comparatively well and are part of a very rare group of monuments. They will still contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, function, development, restoration, social organisation, ritual and funerary activity, territorial significance and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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