Ancient Monuments

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Nine Stone Close small stone circle

A Scheduled Monument in Birchover, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.1604 / 53°9'37"N

Longitude: -1.6643 / 1°39'51"W

OS Eastings: 422542.412

OS Northings: 362643.167134

OS Grid: SK225626

Mapcode National: GBR 58D.S1S

Mapcode Global: WHCDF.DTQH

Entry Name: Nine Stone Close small stone circle

Scheduled Date: 28 April 1949

Last Amended: 1 December 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008007

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23244

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Birchover

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Youlgreave All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Derby


Nine Stone Close stone circle is located on the edge of Harthill Moor in the
eastern gritstone moors of Derbyshire. The monument is a small stone circle
and includes the four remaining upright stones and the sites of the stones
which were removed in the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the latter lies 70m
to the south where, in the late 18th century, it was taken to be used as a
gatepost in a field wall. As this stone is no longer in-situ it is not
included in the scheduling. The remaining upright stones are all c.2m high and
form the eastern arc of the original circle which had a diameter of
approximately 30m. The south-west stone has cup marks on both faces. These are
artificial incisions often found on stones incorporated into Bronze Age
ceremonial and domestic structures. They may have been purely decorative or
could have served a practical function which has not so far been recognised.
Partial excavations of the circle were carried out by Thomas Bateman in 1847,
Jewitt and Greenwell in 1877 and J P Heathcote in 1939. Numerous flints and
pot-sherds were found which date the monument to the Bronze Age. In addition,
the circle forms part of a rich prehistoric landscape on Harthill Moor which
includes Bronze Age barrows and settlement enclosures. The drystone wall which
crosses the monument is excluded from the scheduling although the ground
underneath is included.

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

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.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 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. 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. They are widespread throughout England
although clusters are found on Dartmoor, the North Yorkshire Moors, in the
Peak District and in the uplands of Cumbria and Northumberland. 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

Nine Stone Close stone circle is larger in diameter than most small stone
circles and so demonstrates well the diversity of form of this class of
monument. Although a number of stones have been removed, the interior of the
monument is largely undisturbed and retains significant archaeological

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bateman, T, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, (1849), 102
Marsden, B M, The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire , (1977), 43
Radley, J, Bronze Age Ringworks in the Pennines25
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990)
Heathcote, J P, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in The Nine Stones, Harthill Moor, , Vol. 60, (1939), 126-8
Rooke, H, 'Archaeologia' in Archaeologia , (1782)
Barnatt, John, (1992)

Source: Historic England

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