Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Small stone circle known as the 'Nine Maidens' 60m east of Carthew House

A Scheduled Monument in Wendron, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1834 / 50°11'0"N

Longitude: -5.2467 / 5°14'48"W

OS Eastings: 168313.885467

OS Northings: 36533.276393

OS Grid: SW683365

Mapcode National: GBR Z2.5JV6

Mapcode Global: VH12R.0NM8

Entry Name: Small stone circle known as the 'Nine Maidens' 60m east of Carthew House

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1923

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006752

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 12

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Wendron

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Redruth

Church of England Diocese: Truro


This monument includes a small stone circle situated at the summit of a ridge which forms the watershed between two tributaries of the River Cobe. The stone circle survives as an arc of five in-situ upright earthfast stones varying in height from 0.9m to 1.13m high, four are freestanding and the fifth is incorporated into a hedge. The estimated original diameter of the circle is approximately 16m. When first recorded by Borlase in the 18th century the circle contained eight stones. At least one had been removed by 1879.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-425678

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of upright or recumbent stones. 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 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 calendar 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, over 100 are examples of small stone circles. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of preservation. Despite the removal of some of the upright stones, the small stone circle known as the 'Nine Maidens' 60m east of Carthew House survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, ritual practices, social and cultural significance and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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