Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Ring cairn on Knipescar Common south of Inscar Plantation

A Scheduled Monument in Bampton, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5634 / 54°33'48"N

Longitude: -2.7249 / 2°43'29"W

OS Eastings: 353220.69653

OS Northings: 518922.922692

OS Grid: NY532189

Mapcode National: GBR 9HDN.VY

Mapcode Global: WH81R.3KPH

Entry Name: Ring cairn on Knipescar Common south of Inscar Plantation

Scheduled Date: 31 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007364

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22535

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Bampton

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Bampton St Patrick

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is a ring cairn located on a limestone shelf on Knipescar Common
20m south of the western corner of Inscar Plantation. It includes a ring bank
of largely turf-covered limestone rubble up to 2.5m wide and 1.3m high on the
downsloping south easterly side and 0.6m high elsewhere. The ring bank
encloses an undulating oval internal area measuring c.13m by 9m that is raised
up to 0.3m above the old landsurface.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of
stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may
be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small
uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of
England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by fieldwork and ground
level survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial
photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples.
Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are
interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact
nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has
revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and
pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial
rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the
number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available
evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a
relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form,
all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological
deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite some surface disturbance to the monument's interior, the ring cairn on
Knipescar Common south of Inscar Plantation survives reasonably well. It will
retain undisturbed archaeological deposits within the enclosure bank and
interior which together will facilitate a greater understanding of the nature
of the rituals undertaken at such sites.

Source: Historic England


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Ring Cairns, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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