Ancient Monuments

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Butterdon Hill stone alignment and cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Harford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4226 / 50°25'21"N

Longitude: -3.8934 / 3°53'36"W

OS Eastings: 265597.0155

OS Northings: 59799.3711

OS Grid: SX655597

Mapcode National: GBR Q9.2TXQ

Mapcode Global: FRA 27QY.501

Entry Name: Butterdon Hill stone alignment and cairn

Scheduled Date: 27 June 1953

Last Amended: 23 October 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012486

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10558

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Harford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Ugborough St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Stone alignments or stone rows consist of upright stones set in a single
line or two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length.
They frequently lead to burial monuments such as small cairns, cists and
barrows and are therefore thought to have had a ceremonial function. The 70
or so examples known on Dartmoor were probably constructed in the Late
Neolithic period (around 2500 BC). The Butterdon Hill single stone alignment
runs for over 2km along the ridge between Butterdon Hill and Piles Hill and
is the second longest stone alignment on Dartmoor. The stones are up to a
metre in height and are spaced at intervals of 1m to 1.5m. There is a cairn
10.5m in diameter and 0.3m in height, with a retaining kerb at the southern
end of the alignment and a recumbent stone, 2.56m in length, known as the
Longstone, which is considered to have been the northern terminal. One stone
in the row c.300m south of this northern terminal has a cross incised on its
west face and is known as Hobajon's Cross. The line has been adopted as the
Harford Moor/ Ugborough Moor Common Land boundary and includes introduced
modern boundary stones.

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

Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in Southern Britain and
because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the
most complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country.
The great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provides direct
evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric
period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between
settlement sites, major land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary
monuments as well as later industrial remains, gives significant insights
into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Stone
aligments provide rare evidence of ceremonial or ritual practices on the
Moor during the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. The Butterdon Hill alignment
is particularly significant as it is the second longest on Dartmoor and its
full length is defined by a terminal cairn at the southern end to a terminal
stone at the northern end. It is also associated with several other cairns
and ceremonial monuments on Butterdon Hill.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Davidson, C J, Seabrook, R A G, 'Proc. Devon Arch. Soc.' in Stone Rings on South East Dartmoor, , Vol. 31, (1973), 25
Emmett, D D, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Stone Rows: The Traditional View Reconsidered, , Vol. 39, (1979), 111
Worth, R H, 'Trans Devonshire Assoc' in Dartmoor 1788-1808, , Vol. 73, (1941), 203
Worth, R H, 'Trans Devonshire Assoc' in Stone Rows of Dartmoor, Part 1, , Vol. 78, (1946), 287
Devon County SMR SX65NE-013.01,
Devon County SMR SX66NE-006 and 038,
Devon County SMR SX66SE-002,
Devon County SMR SX66SE-013,

Source: Historic England

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