Ancient Monuments

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Standing stone and adjacent round cairn, 760m north east of East Shaftoe Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Belsay, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1334 / 55°8'0"N

Longitude: -1.8983 / 1°53'53"W

OS Eastings: 406581.951675

OS Northings: 582118.359842

OS Grid: NZ065821

Mapcode National: GBR H952.TM

Mapcode Global: WHB1P.T77H

Entry Name: Standing stone and adjacent round cairn, 760m north east of East Shaftoe Hall

Scheduled Date: 28 November 1932

Last Amended: 7 April 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015530

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25146

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Belsay

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Bolam St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a standing stone and an adjacent round cairn of Late
Neolithic/Early Bronze Age date situated in a prominent position on the top of
a small knoll. The cairn, 14m in diameter stands to a maximum height of 1.9m.
It was partly opened in the 18th century by the Antiquarian Warburtan; in
it he uncovered a stone coffin or cist very close to the top of the centre of
the cairn. The standing stone, originally one of two, is situated some 6m to
the south of the cairn. It is 2m high and measures 1.5m wide and is 0.6m
thick. A spherical amber bead was found at the foot of the stone in 1985. A
second stone which is thought to have stood to the north east of the cairn was
reportedly removed to Wallington Hall in the early 18th century. The cairn and
two standing stones were first mentioned in 1552 when the Order of the Marches
directed that `the watch be kept at the two stones the Poind and His Man, with
two men nightly, of the inhabitors of Bollame'

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.

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age. They
were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These
burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called
cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch. Often occupying
prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the modern
landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are the
stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation
amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of
their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of protection.

The standing stone and round cairn near east Shaftoe Hall survive very well
and will contribute greatly to our understanding of prehistoric funerary and
ritual practices.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
MacLaughlan, H, Memoir to Survey of Eastern Branch of the Watling Street, (1864), 3
Davies, J, Davidson, J, 'Northern Archaeology vol 9 1988-89' in A Survey of Bolam and Shaftoe area, Northumberland, (1990), 73-74
Davies, J, Davidson, J, 'Northern Archaeology vol 9 1988-89' in A Survey of Bolam and Shaftoe area, Northumberland, (1990), 73

Source: Historic England

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