Ancient Monuments

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Stone circle west of Great Knott, Lacra

A Scheduled Monument in Whicham, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.2206 / 54°13'14"N

Longitude: -3.3054 / 3°18'19"W

OS Eastings: 314983.937762

OS Northings: 481325.934511

OS Grid: SD149813

Mapcode National: GBR 5MCM.6S

Mapcode Global: WH722.658R

Entry Name: Stone circle west of Great Knott, Lacra

Scheduled Date: 25 October 1972

Last Amended: 26 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009122

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23733

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Whicham

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Whicham St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a small stone circle at Lacra, located on a hillside
plateau overlooking the coastal plain of west Cumbria and the estuary of the
River Duddon. It includes a circle of eight granite boulders, some standing
and some fallen, enclosing an area of approximately 15.7m in diameter. The
stones are irregular in shape and vary in height between 0.2m-1m. There are
gaps in the circle's south western and northern sectors indicating that some
of the original stones may have been removed.

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

Despite the loss of some of the monument's stones, this small stone circle
west of Great Knott, Lacra, survives reasonably well. It is one of four
closely spaced stone circles on the hillside - one of which has an associated
stone avenue and one of which has an internal cairn - and indicates the
diversity in form of this class of monument and the importance of this area in
prehistoric times.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Waterhouse, J, The Stones Circles of Cumbria, (1986), 46-52
Bowman, A., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Small Stone Circles, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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