Ancient Monuments

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Yockenthwaite small stone circle

A Scheduled Monument in Buckden, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.21 / 54°12'36"N

Longitude: -2.1555 / 2°9'19"W

OS Eastings: 389957.130544

OS Northings: 479376.406335

OS Grid: SD899793

Mapcode National: GBR FMDR.4L

Mapcode Global: WHB60.VFRW

Entry Name: Yockenthwaite small stone circle

Scheduled Date: 17 December 1929

Last Amended: 10 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008772

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24467

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Buckden

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The stone circle at Yockenthwaite in Langstrothdale survives in an excellent
state of preservation. It is set on a slight bank alongside the River Wharfe
and at the foot of the steep slopes of Yockenthwaite Moor and is visible from
a wide expanse of the adjacent fellside.
The circle of limestone boulders is set on a slight bank, 1.8m wide, itself
containing stones. Within the circle is a slight bowl shaped depression.
Internally the circle has a diameter of 7.1m by 6.5m, making it very close to
being a true circle. There are 24 boulders, four of which form an outer kerb
in the north west quadrant. Three other stones seem to have fallen and may
originally have been part of the outer kerb. Two small gaps occur, one in the
north east quadrant and one in the south east quadrant which are likely to
have accommodated three or four more stones.
The stones stand to an approximate height of 0.4m, the notable exception
being a very large boulder in the south west quadrant with dimensions of 1.16m
by 0.75m by 0.4m. Beyond the circle itself is a possible outlier stone 6.5m
from the perimeter to the south east. To the west, and roughly in line, are
two more similar boulders, the first about 62m from the outlier and the second
about 107m from it. These are not included in the scheduling as they have yet
to be confirmed to be outliers of the stone circle.

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

The Yockenthwaite stone circle is a very fine and well preserved example
of a small stone circle. The majority of its stones survive in situ with no
evidence of disturbance.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Raistrick, A , 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Bronze Age in West Yorkshire, , Vol. 29, (1929), 355-356
Raistrick, A , 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Bronze Age in West Yorkshire, , Vol. 29, (1929), 355-356
Raistrick, A , 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Bronze Age in West Yorkshire, , Vol. 29, (1929), 354
Fairless, K J, Field Monument Warden Report, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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