Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Standing stone, 770m south-east of Swinburne Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Chollerton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.0653 / 55°3'55"N

Longitude: -2.0993 / 2°5'57"W

OS Eastings: 393753.2265

OS Northings: 574545.5715

OS Grid: NY937745

Mapcode National: GBR F9SW.90

Mapcode Global: WHB1S.QYJ6

Entry Name: Standing stone, 770m south-east of Swinburne Castle

Scheduled Date: 28 November 1932

Last Amended: 22 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011407

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20936

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Chollerton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Chollerton St Giles

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a standing stone of Late Neolithic/Bronze Age date
situated on a long promontory formed by the confluence of the Coal and Swin
Burns. The stone, rectangular in section, measures 1.4m wide by 0.6m in
breadth. It stands to a height of 3.3m with its top much pitted and gullied by
the action of natural weathering. Both sides of the broad standing stone are
occupied by cupmarks, artificial hollows carved into the rock surface. These
are most numerous on the south side of the stone.

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

Standing stones are prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments with dates
ranging from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age for the few
excavated examples. They comprise single or paired upright orthostatic slabs,
ranging from under lm to over 6m high where still erect. They are often
conspicuously sited and close to other contemporary monument classes. They can
be accompanied by various features: many occur in or on the edge of round
barrows, and where excavated, associated subsurface features have included
stone cists, stone settings, and various pits and hollows filled in with earth
containing human bone, cremations, charcoal, flints, pots and pot sherds.
Similar deposits have been found in excavated sockets for standing stones,
which range considerably in depth. Several standing stones also bear cup and
ring marks. Standing stones may have functioned as markers for routeways,
territories, graves, or meeting points, but their accompanying features show
they also bore a ritual function and that they form one of several ritual
monument classes of their period that often contain a deposit of cremation and
domestic debris as an integral component. No national survey of standing
stones has been undertaken, and estimates range from 50 to 250 extant
examples, widely distributed throughout England but with concentrations in
Cornwall, the North Yorkshire Moors, Cumbria, Derbyshire and the Cotswolds.
Standing stones are important as nationally rare monuments, with a high
longevity and demonstrating the diversity of ritual practices in the Late
Neolithic and Bronze Age. Consequently all undisturbed standing stones and
those which represent the main range of types and locations would normally be
considered to be of national importance.

The stone south-east of Swinburne Castle is a good example of a large standing
stone. Standing stones are relatively rare in Northumberland; this example is
especially unusual in bearing extensive and complex decoration of cup and ring
markings. This prehistoric rock art is more usually found on natural rock
outcrops. The stone also lies close to several contemporary round cairns with
which its use may be associated.

Source: Historic England

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