Ancient Monuments

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Stone circle

A Scheduled Monument in Winterbourne Bassett, Wiltshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4785 / 51°28'42"N

Longitude: -1.8665 / 1°51'59"W

OS Eastings: 409368.433384

OS Northings: 175508.885432

OS Grid: SU093755

Mapcode National: GBR 3TZ.8XV

Mapcode Global: VHB3Y.L3MF

Entry Name: Stone circle

Scheduled Date: 26 June 1924

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005708

English Heritage Legacy ID: WI 24

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Winterbourne Bassett

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Summary

Concentric stone circle 275m south-east of Lambourne Ground

Source: Historic England

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 June 2015. This 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. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.

This monument includes a concentric stone circle situated within a gently sloping valley of a small tributary to the River Kennet. The concentric stone circle survives as six visible recumbent and partly buried orthostats with a series of buried stones and socket holes. The concentric circle was identified by Stukeley in 1793 and consisted of an outer circle of up to 71m in diameter, an inner circle of 45m and a single central stone. It is suggested that of the six remaining visible stones four form part of the arc of the outer circle and two form part of the inner one. Of the remaining visible stones two are at ground level and measure between 1.6m and 2.5m wide and the others range between 0.2m to 0.5m high and from 0.7m up to 1.7m wide. The stones were recorded in a survey by Smith in 1881-2 and in 1998 a Geophysical survey was carried out. It confirmed at least seven of the stones as indicated by the Smith plan had survived as either visible stones, buried stones or anomalies thought to represent socket holes, and the latter survey indicated more ‘anomalies’ than previously known and also a drain or wall surviving as a buried feature. However, neither survey was able to produce the full plan of the concentric circle.

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.2000-1240 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. Concentric stone circles comprise an arrangement of two or more stone rings set within one another. The diameter of the outer ring may vary between 20 and 330 metres, this ring comprising between 20 and 97 stones. They occur in clusters in Wiltshire, Derbyshire and Cumbria with outliers in North Yorkshire and Dartmoor. The best and most complex examples of this type are Stonehenge and Avebury. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England only 15 are of this type. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity. The concentric stone circle 275m south east of Lambourne Ground survives comparatively well and will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, function, territorial, social and economic significance, ritual, funerary and spiritual practices and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
PastScape 216296
Wiltshire HER SU07NE101

Source: Historic England

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