Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Small stone circle on Smelting Hill, 560m north east of Lane End Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Abney and Abney Grange, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.3201 / 53°19'12"N

Longitude: -1.6971 / 1°41'49"W

OS Eastings: 420274.977752

OS Northings: 380393.886822

OS Grid: SK202803

Mapcode National: GBR JZL1.CK

Mapcode Global: WHCCM.XT13

Entry Name: Small stone circle on Smelting Hill, 560m north east of Lane End Farm

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016998

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31252

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Abney and Abney Grange

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Bradwell St Barnabas

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes the remains of a small, embanked, stone circle situated
close to the edge of a gritstone escarpment known as Smelting Hill. It stands
on a well defined platform cut into the hillslope which faces to the east. It
is interpreted as a ceremonial structure and is part of a complex of
prehistoric features on the same moorlands.
The stone circle embankment measures approximately 11m in diameter and has a
width of about 1.5m-2m, creating an internal diameter of approximately 7.5m.
The embankment has been eroded and is damaged at its eastern end with most of
the surviving bank standing only a few centimetres high. There is no trace of
a central feature as found in some similar monuments in the region, although
this area appears to survive undisturbed and is therefore likely to contain
buried features. There are at least two surviving orthostats (upright stones),
although one has now fallen. The remaining upright stone stands approximately
0.75m high. Traces of other stones in the embankment, now almost buried by
turf, may also be fallen orthostats. The stone circle overlooks a prehistoric
cairnfield to the north and there are also several cairns nearby on the edge
of the escarpment.

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

The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the
River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open
moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going
archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best
recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early
human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors.
On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over
extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the
Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the
most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the
largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England
as well settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other
ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in
the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible
relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this
provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time.
A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity
in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections,
will be identified as nationally important.

Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of
upright or recumbent stones. The circle of stones may be surrounded by
earthwork features such as enclosing banks and ditches. Burial cairns may
also be found close to and, on occasions, within the circle. Stone circles
are found throughout England, although they are concentrated in western areas,
with particular clusters in the uplands. This distribution may be more a
reflection of present survival rather than an original pattern. Where
excavated they have been found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle
Bronze Age (c.2400-1000 BC). It is clear that they were carefully designed
and laid out, frequently exhibiting very regularly spaced stones, the heights
of which also appear to have been of some importance. We do not fully
understand the uses for which these monuments were originally constructed but
it is clear that they had considerable ritual importance to the societies that
used them. In many instances excavation has revealed that they provided a
focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied the interment of the dead.
Some circles appear to have had calendrical functions, helping to mark the
passage of time and the seasons. At other sites the spacing of individual
circles throughout the landscape has led to the suggestion that each one
provided some form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group. A
small stone circle comprises a regular or irregular ring of between 7 and 16
stones with a diameter of between 4m and 20m. Of the 250 or so stone circles
identified in England, over 100 are examples of small stone circles. As a
monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual
activity, all surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation.
The small stone circle 560m north east of Lane End Farm is well preserved and
will contribute to the study of Bronze Age ceremonial activity on these

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 69-70
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 69-70
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 66-8

Source: Historic England

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