Ancient Monuments

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Round cairn on Stiperstones, 350m SSW of the Devil's Chair

A Scheduled Monument in Worthen with Shelve, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.5833 / 52°34'59"N

Longitude: -2.9343 / 2°56'3"W

OS Eastings: 336793.984587

OS Northings: 298794.506155

OS Grid: SO367987

Mapcode National: GBR B9.B68H

Mapcode Global: WH8C9.WBXF

Entry Name: Round cairn on Stiperstones, 350m SSW of the Devil's Chair

Scheduled Date: 7 November 1972

Last Amended: 4 February 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007705

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19114

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Worthen with Shelve

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Ratlinghope

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes a substantial round cairn situated on the summit of
Stiperstones, a narrow north to south orientated ridge of high ground. The
cairn is visible as a large and well defined, flat topped stony mound 24m in
diameter standing 1.7m high. Much of the fabric of the cairn is exposed
showing it to be constructed of angular limestone blocks, the individual
stones averaging some 0.3m in size. The western half of the cairn has an
uneven surface and is heather covered. Two roughly circular hollows have been
excavated to a depth of 0.9m in the south-west quarter. The northern half of
the cairn is surmounted by a secondary mound or walled structure built of
unweathered stones. It has a diameter of 7m and stands 1m above the level of
the main cairn, the northern slope of this mound merges with that of the main
cairn to give a uniform slope 2.7m high on the north side. The centre of this
structure and the underlying cairn are hollowed to form a shooting butt 3m in
diameter and 0.6m deep. The excavation of the cairn at this point has revealed
a large natural boulder lying in situ beneath the cairn, it has dimensions of
1.8m long and 1.3m at its widest, tapering to a point and broken roughly two
thirds along its length. It lies orientated east to west, the pointed end to
the west. No ditch is visible surrounding the cairn from which material was
quarried during the construction of the cairn though it is thought that one
may survive as a buried feature approximately 3m wide.

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

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or
multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined
compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch.
Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the
modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are
the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation
amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of
their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of protection.

The round cairn on Stiperstones 350m SSW of The Devil's Chair survives well
and is a fine example of this monument class. Despite being disturbed in its
upper levels it will retain archaeological deposits and environmental evidence
relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed. It is one of
several similar monuments which occur on Stiperstones, and, as such,
contributes information relating to the density of settlement, type of land
use, burial practices and social structure of the prehistoric community
occupying this area of upland during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England

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