Ancient Monuments

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Small stone circle and central cairn on Eyam Moor, 370m south of Fern Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Grindleford, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.3057 / 53°18'20"N

Longitude: -1.6528 / 1°39'9"W

OS Eastings: 423235.320852

OS Northings: 378809.702952

OS Grid: SK232788

Mapcode National: GBR JZW6.ZP

Mapcode Global: WHCCV.L55L

Entry Name: Small stone circle and central cairn on Eyam Moor, 370m south of Fern Cottage

Scheduled Date: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018478

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31231

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Grindleford

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Eyam St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes a small prehistoric stone circle with central cairn
located on gently shelving land at the eastern edge of Eyam Moor. The circle
stands close to contemporary cairnfields and related monuments.
The stone circle consists of six surviving stones arranged in a ring measuring
13m by 12.5m. Four of the stones stand upright, the other two are now fallen.
The stones range between 0.25m and 1.1m in height. It is recorded that there
were nine stones in the ring during the 19th century. Within the circle of
stones stands a large oval cairn orientated north-south, measuring 8.5m by 6m
and standing about 0.6m high. The cairn has a deep trench cut along its axis
although much of the original fabric still survives. The trench is likely to
be the result of 18th or 19th century antiquarian excavation. The ring of
free-standing stones without an embankment is unusual in the local region. A
fallen orthostat (upright boulder) on the ESE side of the circle now bears a
boundary mark.
The monument is interpreted as a Bronze Age stone circle of which a few
survive in the local region. The central cairn was probably funerary in
purpose, forming a complex ceremonial monument.

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 upright or recumbent
stones. Burial cairns may be found close to and on occasion within the
circle. These monuments are found throughout England, although they are
concentrated in western areas with particular clusters in upland regions.
Where excavated they have been found to date from the late Neolithic to the
Middle Bronze Age (c.2400-1000 BC). 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. Of the 250 or so examples
identified in England, over 100 of these are small stone circles of between
seven and 16 upright stones. As a rare monument type which provides an
important insight into prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are
considered worthy of preservation.
The stone circle 370m south of Fern Cottage is well preserved and contains a
central cairn. Significant information on the history and use of this site
will survive.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, 'Sheffield Arch. Monograph 1' in The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, (1990), 74-5

Source: Historic England

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