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Stone alignment west of Boroughbridge known as the Devil's Arrows, including three standing stones and the setting for a fourth

A Scheduled Monument in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.093 / 54°5'34"N

Longitude: -1.4035 / 1°24'12"W

OS Eastings: 439113.736368

OS Northings: 466503.842157

OS Grid: SE391665

Mapcode National: GBR LPM3.YJ

Mapcode Global: WHD97.DDX3

Entry Name: Stone alignment west of Boroughbridge known as the Devil's Arrows, including three standing stones and the setting for a fourth

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1923

Last Amended: 27 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014705

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28221

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Boroughbridge

Built-Up Area: Boroughbridge

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Details

The monument includes a stone alignment 174m long dating from the Late
Neolithic/Early Bronze Age, with three standing stones aligned on a NNW to SSE
axis. They stand on relatively flat land which falls slightly to the south.
The stones do not form a straight line. They are unevenly spaced with the
central stone standing 60m from the northern one and 110m from the southern
one. The three stones decrease in size from the south to north. The monument
is divided into three separate areas. The site of a fourth stone lies 2.1m
NNW of the central stone and is included in the central area.
The northern stone stands 5.5m high and is rectangular in section, measuring
2.6m by 1.4m. The central stone is 6.7m high and is almost square in section,
measuring 1.5m by 1.2m. The southern stone is 6.9m high and measures 1.4m by
1.2m in section. Excavations around the base of the central stone in 1709
revealed that it had a flat bottom standing squarely in a 1.5m deep stonehole
which was packed with cobbles, clay and grit to hold the stone tightly in
place. Further excavations around the bases of the northern and southern
stones in 1876 and 1881 revealed the stoneholes to be 1.4m and 1.8m deep
respectively.
The top of each stone is marked by a series of deep grooves resulting from
natural weathering. The fourth stone was recorded as standing by Leland in the
mid-16th century, but by the end of the century Camden records it as lying
prone. It is thought that this fourth stone was broken and used for the
foundation of a bridge over the River Tutt in 1621, with the upper segment
being set up in the grounds of Aldborough manor.
The stones are formed of millstone and originated at an outcrop at Plumpton
Rocks 15km to the west. Field walking, geophysical surveys and trial
excavations in the area to the west of the stones have revealed extensive and
intensive prehistoric remains of a high quality. The stones are thus part of a
wider complex of buried prehistoric remains. The full nature and extent of
this wider complex has yet to be confirmed and the scheduling therefore
focusses on the stones. The monument is to the south of a wider group of
prehistoric ritual monuments, including henges and round barrows, situated in
the lowlands between the Pennines and the Hambleton Hills.

MAP EXTRACT
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 alignments or stone rows consist of upright stones set in a single line,
or in two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They
are often sited close to prehistoric burial monuments, such as small cairns
and cists, and to ritual monuments, such as stone circles, and are therefore
considered to have had an important ceremonial function. Stone alignments were
being constructed and used from the Late Neolithic period to the Middle Bronze
Age (c.2500-1000 BC) and provide rare evidence of ceremonial and ritual
practices during these periods. Due to their rarity and longevity as a
monument type, all examples that are not extensively damaged will be
considered worthy of protection.

This stone alignment includes three of the largest stones of any alignment in
Britain, with the southern stone being the second tallest standing stone in
Britain. The monument is rare as one of few examples of a stone alignment in
a lowland setting. The construction pits for the erection of the stones
remain buried beneath the ground and will retain significant archaeological
remains. The stones are part of a wider prehistoric complex concentrated
around the River Ure at the southern edge of a ritual landscape which
includes henge monuments and round barrows extending several kilometres to
the north. The stones and the associated remains offer important scope for
the study of ritual and society in the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Burl, A, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Devils Arrows Boroughbridge, (1991), 1-23
Burl, A, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Devils Arrows Boroughbridge, (1991), 1-23
Other
Fraser R, (1994)
Fraser R, (1995)
Fraser R, (1995)
NAA Report 93/17, Fraser, R and Speed, G P B, A1 Walshford to Dishforth Field walk Survey for Bullen and Part., (1993)
NAA Report 93/17, Fraser, R and Speed, G P B, A1 Walshford to Dishforth Field walk Survey for Bullen and Part., (1993)
NAA Report 93/17, Fraser, R and Speed, G P B, A1 Walshford to Dishforth Field walk Survey for Bullen and Part., (1993)
NAA Report 93/17, Fraser, R and Speed, G P B, A1 Walshford to Dishforth Field walk Survey for Bullen and Part., (1993)
NAA Report 93/22, Fraser, R et al, A1 Walshford to Dishforth Geophysical and Trial Trench evaluate, (1993)
NAA Report 93/22, Fraser, R et al, A1 Walshford to Dishforth Geophysical and Trial Trench evaluate, (1993)
NAA Report 93/22, Fraser, R et al, A1 Walshford to Dishforth Geophysical and Trial Trench evaluate, (1993)
NAA Report 93/22, Fraser, R et al, A1 Walshford to Dishforth Geophysical and Trial Trench evaluate, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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