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Rempstone Stone Circle

A Scheduled Monument in Corfe Castle, Dorset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6384 / 50°38'18"N

Longitude: -2.009 / 2°0'32"W

OS Eastings: 399461.691548

OS Northings: 82082.004238

OS Grid: SY994820

Mapcode National: GBR 33J.WD7

Mapcode Global: FRA 67PD.14T

Entry Name: Rempstone Stone Circle

Scheduled Date: 15 October 1924

Last Amended: 17 May 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018186

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29075

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Corfe Castle

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Corfe Castle St Edward the Martyr

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes a small irregular stone circle, commonly known as
Rempstone Stone Circle, situated on a slight ridge of the lower north facing
slope of Brenscombe Hill.
The site was discovered by the Dorset Field Club in 1908, surveyed by Stuart
Piggott in 1939 and recorded by The Royal Commission on the Historical
Monuments of England in 1970. The circle has been partially disturbed by
quarrying and the removal of stone settings to the south. This disturbance may
relate to clay workings recorded within the area on a map of 1772.
The ten surviving stones form an arc in plan, which suggests an original oval
form with maximum dimensions of about 25m by 21m. The stones are all
irregularly shaped boulders of hard gritstone sourced from local Bagshot Beds.
The stones vary in height from about 0.3m to about 1m, and are between 0.4m by
0.7m to 2m by 1.3m in plan. Most of the stones have fallen and are partially
buried.
A group of eight stones situated 24m east of the circle was recorded in the
1930s, but the stones have since been removed. These stones may have related
to the circle, although the nature of any relationship is unknown. In 1957,
23 stones forming a possible stone avenue were identified 850m to the north
west of the circle. These stones were removed soon after discovery and their
relationship with the circle, if any, is also uncertain.
All fence posts relating to the modern field boundaries are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 3 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
preservation.

Despite some limited disturbance by quarrying, Rempstone Stone Circle survives
comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence
relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.
Representing one of only five stone circles known in Dorset, this site has the
best potential within the group for the preservation of waterlogged deposits.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 514
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 514
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 514
'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Rempstone Stone Circle, , Vol. XXIX, (1908), liii-iv
Calkin, B, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in A Possible Avenue To the Rempstone Stone Circle, , Vol. LXXXI, (1959), 114-115
Piggott, S, Piggott, C M, 'Antiquity' in Stone and Earth Circles in Dorset, (1939), 148-9
Piggott, S, Piggott, C M, 'Antiquity' in Stone and Earth Circles in Dorset, (1939), 148-9

Source: Historic England

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