Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Standing stone with cup markings, 230m south of Sandyway Heads

A Scheduled Monument in Matfen, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.0664 / 55°3'58"N

Longitude: -1.9335 / 1°56'0"W

OS Eastings: 404346.542655

OS Northings: 574657.405149

OS Grid: NZ043746

Mapcode National: GBR G9YV.6N

Mapcode Global: WHB1W.8XKF

Entry Name: Standing stone with cup markings, 230m south of Sandyway Heads

Scheduled Date: 24 January 1969

Last Amended: 11 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014070

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25181

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Matfen

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Matfen Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone of Bronze Age date
situated near the top of a promiment rise. The standing stone is 2m high and
0.5m square at the base and 1m wide at the top. It has been fashioned from a
massive freestone block, the upper parts of which are weathered and deeply
grooved and it leans slightly to the south. The eastern face of the standing
stone displays at least four cup marks or shallow, circular prehistoric motifs
pecked out of the surface of the stone. The standing stone is known locally as
`The Warrior 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.

Prehistoric rock art is found in many areas of upland Britain and is
especially common in the north of England. The most common form of decoration
is the `cup and ring marking' where small cup like hollows are pecked onto the
surfaces of rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more `rings'. Other
shapes and patterns may also occur but are less frequent. Carvings may occur
singly, in small groups or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They
date to the Neolithic or Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide some
of our most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The standing stone at
Sandway Heads is well preserved and retains significant archaeological
information including evidence of prehistoric cup marks. It is one of a small
group of three standing stones in the area which, taken together, will add to
our knowledge and understanding of Bronze Age settlement and activity in the

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hope-Dodds, M , The Victoria History of the County of Northumberland: Volume XII, (1940), 13

NZ 07 SW 10,

Source: Historic England

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