Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Hawk Stone standing stone 700m south of Claridges Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Spelsbury, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9094 / 51°54'33"N

Longitude: -1.5083 / 1°30'29"W

OS Eastings: 433922.410308

OS Northings: 223545.774178

OS Grid: SP339235

Mapcode National: GBR 6T6.9HN

Mapcode Global: VHBZG.T80L

Entry Name: Hawk Stone standing stone 700m south of Claridges Barn

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1926

Last Amended: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018401

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28199

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Spelsbury

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Spelsbury

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a single prehistoric standing stone known as the Hawk
Stone on a natural crest on Spelsbury Down, 900m west of Spelsburydown Farm.
The single oolitic limestone monolith is believed to stand in its original
position. Although it has been suggested that the monument might be all that
remains of a portal dolmen (a rare type of burial chamber), there are no
surviving associated orthostats (stones) or other evidence available at
present to support this claim.
The stone measures approximately 1m by 0.9m at its base and tapers to 0.9m at
the apex which is 2.3m above the present ground level. It stands upright and
to remain balanced must have at least one third of its total length buried
below ground level.
A concave hollow in its upper face is known to have been worn over time by
people rubbing it for luck, although it may originally have been natural in

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

The Hawk Stone appears to have survived undisturbed in its original location
and continues to form a visible focal point in the surrounding landscape.
The hollow worn by the hands of visitors to the stone over the centuries shows
how it has continued to have an importance (perhaps for a variety of reasons)
throughout its existence and this in turn may have affected the way the
surrounding landscape was perceived.
The ground around and beneath the stone will contain valuable archaeological
evidence relating to its erection and use.

Source: Historic England

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