Ancient Monuments

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Large regular stone circle called Boscawen-Un with two outlying standing stones west of Boscawen Noon Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Sancreed, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.0899 / 50°5'23"N

Longitude: -5.6192 / 5°37'9"W

OS Eastings: 141221.1391

OS Northings: 27358.5107

OS Grid: SW412273

Mapcode National: GBR DXHF.YPB

Mapcode Global: VH05N.K05F

Entry Name: Large regular stone circle called Boscawen-Un with two outlying standing stones west of Boscawen Noon Farm

Scheduled Date: 25 September 1934

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006678

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 100

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Sancreed

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Buryan

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument, which falls into three areas, includes a large regular stone circle and two standing stones situated on a low ridge above the upper Lamorna River. The stone circle survives as an elliptical ring of 19 upright stones from 0.9m to 1.3m high. There is a further leaning stone just south of the centre of the ring which, if upright, would be 2.4m tall and to the north east two partially buried recumbent stones on the perimeter. The ring measures 24.9m long by 21.9m wide overall. The stones are all of granite except for one which is quartz. The leaning near-central stone has a crude incised carving thought to represent an axe head. Approximately 400m to the north east of the stone circle is the first standing stone which survives as an earthfast monolith standing up to 2.7m high and tapering upwards from 1m wide at the base to 0.4m wide at the top. A second standing stone approximately 700m north east from the stone circle is set into a hedge. It stands up to 2.2m high, 2m wide and 0.4m thick and the upper part tapers sharply to a point. The stone circle was first recorded by Camden in 1582. When Borlase recorded it in the mid-18th century one stone had fallen and by Cotton's plan of 1826 a further two had fallen. The stone circle was restored in 1862 when the three stones were re-erected; a bisecting field wall was removed; and the present encircling field wall was constructed to protect the stones. In 1864 a trial trench was excavated but no finds were made. Two small clearance cairns or cists recorded close to the circle are no longer visible. Stray finds of a glass bead and a leaf shaped arrowhead, found close by, are in Truro Museum. A late-medieval version of Welsh Triads names this stone circle as one of the three main 'Gorsedd' or Druidical meeting places in Britain.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-422357, 422431and 422372

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. 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 partial early excavation and reconstruction, the large regular stone circle called Boscawen-Un with two outlying standing stones west of Boscawen Noon Farm survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, function, longevity, ritual and funerary practices and significance and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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