Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Penannular ditched enclosure, 150m south of Turner's Farm Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Litton Cheney, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.7236 / 50°43'24"N

Longitude: -2.63 / 2°37'48"W

OS Eastings: 355624.970639

OS Northings: 91741.205

OS Grid: SY556917

Mapcode National: GBR PS.HXC6

Mapcode Global: FRA 57C5.K5J

Entry Name: Penannular ditched enclosure, 150m south of Turner's Farm Barn

Scheduled Date: 15 October 1924

Last Amended: 8 May 2018

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004561

English Heritage Legacy ID: DO 38

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Litton Cheney

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Litton Cheney St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The buried remains of a prehistoric penannular ditched enclosure; interpreted as a stone circle or a henge.

Source: Historic England


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the monument includes the buried remains of a penannular ditched enclosure, probably dating of Neolithic or Early Bronze Age date, and interpreted as a stone circle or a henge. It was subsequently used for as a burial site in the Early Bronze Age. It is situated on a low rise at the western end of the Dorset Ridgeway, overlooking the dry steep valleys leading to the current settlement of Litton Cheney.

DETAILS: there is little surface evidence for the monument, largely due to it having been under cultivation for many years; however, an archaeological excavation in 1974 confirmed its character and form. Although earlier sources refer to stone holes within the interior, the excavation failed to locate any evidence for this. Although no longer discernible above ground, the encircling ditch was identified. It was approximately 35m in diameter and measured some 1.5m wide with an average depth of 0.8m deep. It appeared to have been at least partially backfilled deliberately, perhaps soon after completion. A single causewayed entrance with slightly inturned entrance terminals was located to the south-east. The ditch is considered to survive as a buried feature. The internal bank was estimated to be 3m wide and, due to plough levelling, was found to only exist as a rise in the level of the gravel subsoil. The interior contained a slightly off-centre penannular ditched feature with an entrance on its east side. This shallow ditch contained a large quantity of flint nodules that have been interpreted as packing for approximately 32 upright timber posts. Within this ditched feature was a central post hole and two pits, one pit containing pottery, while the other held an adult cremation and might once have supported an upright post. This pit was cut by a second, later pit which also contained an adult cremation with collared urn sherds. A low cairn to the south contained further deposits of cremated bone and urn fragments. Few finds were recovered, perhaps due to the acidity of the soil, but also included quantities of charcoal, some worked flints and a small amount of Iron Age pottery.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The prehistoric penannular ditched enclosure, interpreted as a stone circle or a henge, to the south of Turner’s Farm Barn, Litton Cheney is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: despite plough levelling and archaeological excavation, a high proportion of the ditch survives as a buried feature;
* Potential: the monument is considered to retain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the types of activity that occurred within it, and the nature of the environment in which it was constructed;
* Documentation (Archaeological): it has been well documented through survey and excavation, and these enhance our understanding of the form and character of the monument.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Piggott, S, Piggott, CM, 'Stone and Earth Circles in Dorset' in Antiquity, , Vol. 13, Issue 50, (1939), 138-158
Catherall, PD, 'Excavations at Litton Cheney, Dorset, 1974' in British Archaeological Report, , Vol. 33, (1976), 81-100
Gibson, A, 'Excavations at the Sarn-y-bryn-caled cursus complex,Welshpool, Powys, and the timber circles of Great Britain and Ireland' in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, , Vol. 60, (1994), 143-224
Monument No.451093, PastScape, accessed 22 February 2018 from
Terrain Archaeology, May 2001, Proposed West Compton – A (1) Wellsite, Litton Cheney, Dorset. Archaeological Evaluation, Report No. 5076.1

Source: Historic England

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