Ancient Monuments

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Stone circle on Summerhouse Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Yealand Conyers, Lancashire

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Latitude: 54.1627 / 54°9'45"N

Longitude: -2.7665 / 2°45'59"W

OS Eastings: 350047.701026

OS Northings: 474370.916554

OS Grid: SD500743

Mapcode National: GBR 9N39.VJ

Mapcode Global: WH83N.GMVN

Entry Name: Stone circle on Summerhouse Hill

Scheduled Date: 23 June 1964

Last Amended: 1 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009118

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23729

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Yealand Conyers

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Yealand Conyers St John The Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn


The monument includes a stone circle surrounded by traces of a shallow ditch,
together with two outlying stones located on the summit of Summerhouse Hill
west of Yealand Conyers. It is divided into three separate areas. The monument
includes a sub-circular enclosure of stones and socket holes; the socket holes
indicate the former position of stones which originally formed part of the
stone circle but which have since been removed. The stone circle includes four
large stones of local limestone varying in size from 2.1m-3.3m long by
0.9m-1.8m wide by 1.3m-1.6m high, together with 13 slight depressions or
hollows indicating the socket holes of stones which formed part of the
original circle. A survey of the stone circle undertaken in the mid-1930's
found the four surviving stones to be situated on the circumference of a
circle 140m in diameter. Some of the socket holes lie on this circumference,
some are slightly inside this line and others slightly outside. On the north
west side of the stone circle there are traces of a ditch measuring c.3m wide
and 0.4m deep which originally flanked the stone circle on all sides except
the east. Approximately 30m west of the westernmost stone in the circle is a
stone outlier, and approximately 48m ESE of the southernmost stone in the
circle there is a second outlier.
A drystone wall crossing the monument's western side is excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath the wall 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 designed and
laid out carefully, 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. Large irregular
stone circles comprise a ring of at least 20 stone uprights. The diameters of
surviving examples range between 20 and 40 metres, although it is known that
larger examples, now destroyed, formerly existed. The stone uprights of this
type of circle tend to be more closely spaced than in other types of circle
and the height and positioning of uprights also appears not to have been as
important. They are widely distributed throughout England although in the
south they are confined largely to the west. Of the 250 or so stone circles
identified in England only 45 examples of large irregular circles are known.
As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric
ritual activity all surviving examples are worthy of preservation.

Despite the removal of some of the stones which originally formed part of the
circle, the stone circle on Summerhouse Hill survives reasonably well. It is a
rare example of this class of monument in Lancashire

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
North, O H, Spence, J E, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Stone Circle, Summerhouse Hill, Yealand Conyers, , Vol. XXXVI, (1936), 69-70
Bowman, A, Single Monument Class Description - Large Irregular Stone Circles, (1990)
FMW Report, Capstick, B, Lancs 59a, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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