Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Ox Close small stone circle, Nab End

A Scheduled Monument in Askrigg, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3068 / 54°18'24"N

Longitude: -2.0168 / 2°1'0"W

OS Eastings: 399001.535766

OS Northings: 490131.163245

OS Grid: SD990901

Mapcode National: GBR GLCM.5X

Mapcode Global: WHB5P.Z0RP

Entry Name: Ox Close small stone circle, Nab End

Scheduled Date: 17 December 1929

Last Amended: 22 November 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008771

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24466

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Askrigg

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes a small stone circle which lies on the broad limestone
plateau of Haw Bank and is overlooked by Oxclose Nab. The circle has an outer,
grass-covered bank, approximately 2m wide and 0.25m high. The monument is not
a true circle, being approximately 23.4m north-south and 32m east-west
The bank is composed of earth and a large quantity of small stones up to
30cm in diameter. Standing stones, the majority of which are flat irregular
gritstones, have been erected on the crest of the bank although most have
fallen inwards. About 14 of these stones remain spaced around the circle
and there appears to be space for two or three others. Between these are
several groups of smaller stones, set at intermediate positions.
Approximately centrally placed is a disturbed mound, about 20cm above the
surrounding surface. It is slightly hollowed with variously sized stones
filling much of this depression.

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

Although the site was partially excavated at the beginning of this century,
the distinctive bank and (now recumbent) stones remain in good condition.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Raistrick, A , 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Bronze Age in West Yorkshire, (1929), 354-355
Raistrick, A , 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Bronze Age in West Yorkshire, (1929)
Hall, D, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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