Ancient Monuments

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Ring cairn 120m north-west of Raisgill Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Orton, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.4475 / 54°26'50"N

Longitude: -2.5648 / 2°33'53"W

OS Eastings: 363468.845016

OS Northings: 505935.345376

OS Grid: NY634059

Mapcode National: GBR BKJ0.JG

Mapcode Global: WH93J.KGVT

Entry Name: Ring cairn 120m north-west of Raisgill Hall

Scheduled Date: 1 April 1965

Last Amended: 17 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011148

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23618

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Orton

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Orton with Tebay All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is a ring cairn located 120m north-west of Raisgill Hall on the
shelf of a hillslope overlooking the Lune valley. It includes a ring bank of
turf-covered limestone rubble, between 4m and 6m wide and up to 1.2m high,
with external measurements of 31m by 28m. It encloses a slightly oval internal
area measuring approximately 21m by 18m. There is an entrance 5.5m wide on the
bank's north side. Nineteenth-century quarrying within the ring cairn revealed
a cist containing a skeleton together with bones associated with several
secondary interments in close proximity.

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

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of
stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may
be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small
uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of
England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by fieldwork and ground
level survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial
photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples.
Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are
interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact
nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has
revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and
pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial
rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the
number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available
evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a
relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form,
all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological
deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

The ring cairn 120m north-west of Raisgill Hall is one of the larger examples
of this monument class and, despite some mutilation of its interior by 19th-
century quarrying, it survives reasonably well. This quarrying revealed human
remains and further evidence of interments and the rituals undertaken at this
type of monument will exist within the cairn's interior.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
AM County Index, (1983)
Nicholson, , Burn, , 'History of Westmorland' in History of Westmorland, , Vol. 1, (), 491
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Ring Cairns, (1989)
SMR No 1977, Cumbria SMR, Ring Mound 500ft NW of Raisgill Hall, (1985)
To Robinson,K.D. MPPFW, Mr Dunning (site owner), (1993)

Source: Historic England

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