Ancient Monuments

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Small stone circle on Standingstones Rigg, 720m north west of Linglands Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Cloughton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3589 / 54°21'31"N

Longitude: -0.4896 / 0°29'22"W

OS Eastings: 498247.29

OS Northings: 496975.959822

OS Grid: SE982969

Mapcode National: GBR TL01.S7

Mapcode Global: WHGBL.GP2S

Entry Name: Small stone circle on Standingstones Rigg, 720m north west of Linglands Farm

Scheduled Date: 5 December 1928

Last Amended: 11 October 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020439

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34677

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Cloughton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Cloughton and Burniston

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a small stone circle which is situated in a prominent
position towards the top of a gentle south west facing slope, on Middle
Jurassic sandstone at the eastern edge of the North York Moors.
The circle has a flat-topped mound of earth and stone which measures 14m in
diameter and stands up to 0.6m high. Around the top edge of the mound there is
a ring of 15 earthfast stones, which has an internal diameter of 8m. The
stones are between 0.4m and 1.2m high, although most lean outwards. Six of the
stones have fallen. The stone circle has the best preservation on its west
side, where there are eight stones spaced between 1m and 1.5m apart.
Originally there were 24 stones in the circle, but some have been removed over
the years for reuse elsewhere. Some disturbed stones lie on the perimeter of
the mound. In the centre of the mound there are three closely spaced
orthostats which stand up to 0.6m high around a slight hollow. A second hollow
lies to the east. The hollows are the resultial of partial excavation in
antiquity. It is thought that this excavation uncovered a cist, consisting of
stone slabs set vertically into the mound to surround and cover a burial, four
of which were decorated with cup and ring marks. The cup and ring marked
stones have been removed and are no longer visible, but one of the undecorated
vertical slabs of stone survives and can be seen along the edge of the eastern
The monument is situated in an area where there are many other prehistoric
monuments, including further ritual and burial sites, as well as field systems
and clearance cairns.
The field boundary walls which end to the immediate north and south of the
monument, and the fence which surrounds the monument to separate it from the
forest to the west and the field to the east are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath them is included.

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

Prehistoric rock art is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of
upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in
Northumberland, Durham and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of
decoration is the `cup and ring' marking, where expanses of small cup-like
hollows are pecked into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded
by one or more `rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the
rings may also exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Pecked lines or
grooves can also exist in isolation from cup and ring decoration. Other shapes
and patterns also occur, but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in
small groups, or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the
Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide one of our
most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the
designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious
symbols. Frequently they are found close to contemporary burial monuments and
the symbols are also found on portable stones placed directly next to burials
or incorporated into burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock
art have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic
reflection of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown
or destroyed in activities such as quarrying. All positively identified
prehistoric rock art sites exhibiting a significant group of designs normally
will be identified as nationally important.
Despite limited disturbance, the small stone circle on Standingstones Rigg,
720m north west of Linglands Farm has survived well. Significant information
about the date, form of construction and sequence of development will be
preserved. Evidence for the nature of the rituals associated with its use and
the date and form of the burials placed within it will be preserved within the
circle. Evidence for earlier land use and the contemporary environment will
also survive beneath the mound.
The stone circle is one of only a few examples of this monument type to have
been identified in the area of the North York Moors, and its form is unlike
any other in this area. It is situated close to a cairnfield in an area which
also includes many other prehistoric ritual and funerary monuments. This type
of association offers important scope for the study of the relationship
between social, ritual and agricultural activity in the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bradley, R, The Significance of Monuments, (1998), 132-146
Pacitto, A L, AM107, (1983)
Title: Forestry Commission Areas North York Moors Archaeological Survey
Source Date: 1992
Site 5.63

Source: Historic England

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