Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Mare and Foal stone circle, 400m north east of Milestone House

A Scheduled Monument in Melkridge, Northumberland

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Latitude: 54.9908 / 54°59'26"N

Longitude: -2.4307 / 2°25'50"W

OS Eastings: 372536.168505

OS Northings: 566333.193697

OS Grid: NY725663

Mapcode National: GBR CBGQ.KQ

Mapcode Global: WH90W.MTQB

Entry Name: Mare and Foal stone circle, 400m north east of Milestone House

Scheduled Date: 2 May 1997

Last Amended: 24 February 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017728

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28566

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Melkridge

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Haltwhistle Holy Cross

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a stone circle of Bronze Age date,
situated on a low rise with a southerly aspect. Two of the original stones
remain standing at the monument and the socket holes of the other stones
survive below ground as buried features. The stone circle had a diameter of
6m. The largest and most northerly of the two stones, which is oriented east
to west, stands to a maximum height of 1.5m; it is rectangular in plan and at
the base it measures 0.85m by 0.4m. The second stone, some 4.5m south of
first, is also oriented east to west. This stone is a squat six sided boulder
which stands to a maximum height of 1.05m. At the base it measures 1.05m by
0.60m. In 1770 there were still three stones standing at the monument and they
are shown on a map of the same date. Some 6m west of the first stone there is
a recumbent boulder, thought to be the third stone which is no longer in situ.

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 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. Single upright stones
may be found within the circle or outside it and avenues of stones radiating
out from the circle occur at some sites. Burial cairns may also be found close
to and on occasion within the circle. Stone circles are found throughout
England although they are concentrated in western areas, with particular
clusters in upland areas such as Bodmin and Dartmoor in the south-west and the
Lake District and the rest of Cumbria in the north-west. 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 for the societies
that used them. In many instances excavation has indicated that they provided
a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied interment of the dead.
Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function, helping mark the
passage of time and seasons, this being indicated by the careful alignment of
stones to mark important solar or lunar events such as sunrise or sunset at
midsummer or midwinter. At other sites the spacing of individual circles
throughout the landscape has led to a 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 4 and 20 metres. They are widespread throughout England
although clusters are found on Dartmoor, the North Yorkshire Moors, in the
Peak District and in the uplands of Cumbria and Northumberland. Of the 250 or
so stone circles identified in England, over 100 are examples of small stone
circles. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into
prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of

The Mare and Foal stone circle is reasonably well preserved and retains
significant archaeological deposits. It is a rare monument type and its
location immediately south of Hadrian's Wall will add to our understanding
of the prehistoric landscape in which the Wall was later constructed.

Source: Historic England


Frodsham, Paul , (1997)
NY76NW 36,

Source: Historic England

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