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Historic England Research Records

Little Round Table

Hob Uid: 11981
Location :
Cumbria
Eden
Yanwath and Eamont Bridge
Grid Ref : NY5240028180
Summary : The fragmentary earthwork remains of a possible henge monument, one of three such earthwork enclosures (see also NY 52 NW 2 and 12) clustered in close proximity on the narrow interfluve between the rivers Eamont and Lowther. The earthworks were surveyed by RCHME in 1988. The fragmentary remains comprise a barely discernible scarp on the northern perimeter of the site, and discontinuous traces of a low earthen bank with some stone visible along the southern perimeter. When projected into a full circle, these fragments suggest an enclosure of circa 90 metres in diameter across its banks. The remainder of the site is severely mutilated by buildings, tracks and roads. William Stukeley sketched the site in 1725, depicting it as a roughly circular enclosure circa 90 metres in diameter with, perhaps significantly, a bank with outer ditch. No entrance is apparent, although in 1790, Pennant seems to have recorded one in the north east sector. Some excavation was undertaken in 1939 by G Bersu. No dating evidence was recovered, and one of his three trenches failed to locate the ditch. However, the possibility that it may in fact have located an entrance seems to have been confirmed by geophysical survey in 1988. If so, this entrance is roughly in the position recorded by Pennant. The site is scheduled. Its identification as a henge is unconfirmed, the principal problems being lack of dating evidence from the excavations, and the internal bank. However, its topographical position, and its proximity to two other broadly similar enclosures, suggest that it should be viewed as broadly contemporary, even if it fails to conform to current definitions of henge monuments.
More information : (NY 5238 2820) Earthworks (NR) (site of) (NAT). (1)

Described by Stukeley as a circular ditched and banked enclosure with the ditch outermost. (2)

Excavated by Bersu in 1939 with inconclusive results; he says that if there was a bank it was outside the ditch and not very high. The subsoil had been disturbed in modern times(3).

Still quite plainly, (though faintly), visible at the S end of a grass field. A causeway can be seen facing NE (a little doubtful), and it seems likely that the other, if there was one, was used by the road.

Known as "Little Round Table" (4)

No visible remains. (5)

(NY 5238 2820) Henge(NR)(Site of)(NAT) (6)

The Little Round Table has been located at NY 5240 2818 from field examination and geophysical work, and surveyed at 1:250 scale as a part of the RCHME Penrith Henges Survey, which includes King Arthur's Round Table and Mayburgh; the former is visible from the work but the latter is not. The original plans and archive account are held in the NMR.

The fragmentary remains of the monument are visible in the N in pasture as a barely discernible scarp, about 30m long and up to 0.15m high, and in the S in an adjoining plantation, as the discontinuous traces of a low earthen bank with some stone visible, which is reduced to a height of 0.18m to 0.28m, and spread to 9.4m wide. No evidence of a ditch can be seen. These fragments, when projected into a full circle, would suggest that the site was originally 90m in diameter across its banks. However, the site is severely mutilated by later incursions. Between the two fragments is a metalled farm track, and the A6 road and Earl Henry's Drive, W of Lowther Lodge, encroach upon the E side of the monument, assuming it to be circular or nearly so. In this sector there once stood some cottages and gardens, since demolished.

Stukeley (7a), who saw the work in 1725 and planned it, described it as a 'small' bank and outer ditch enclosing an area some 300ft (90m) in diameter; no entrance(s) are mentioned or depicted on plan. Pennant (1790) (7b) notes 'only a low rampart', forming a perfect circle, 77 yards (70m) in diameter, with an entrance in the NNE, whereas Hutchinson (7c) notes no 'apertures'. At the time of the survey of the OS 1st edition in 1859, the earthworks were presumably so reduced that they were not depicted (7d), though in the 1870s, before Lowther Lodge was built and the aforementioned cottages were pulled down, Atkinson (7e) describes an enclosure 60-80 yards (54m- 73m) in diameter. The difference in the diameters relative to the present purported dimensions cannot be explained other than to question their accuracy.

The geophsical survey (7f) following the RCHME survey revealed strong anomolies which defined a curving ditch with a rounded terminal, which accords well with the position of the entrance illustrated by Pennant (7).

Published report of the research by RCHME in 1988 of the three earthworks, complete with plans, results of the geophsical survey and discussion of the sites. Traditionally the two upstanding monuments, and tacitly the Little Round Table, have been regarded as henges or henge-related sites, but only King Arthur's Round Table falls unequivocally into this category. For the Little Round Table there is insufficient evidence from excavation, from finds, from antiquarian sources, and from field and geophsical survey to classify it with certainty as a henge (8).

NY 5238 2817. Little Round Table henge. Scheduled RSM No 23676. (9)

Little Round Table. Listed as a circular enclosure, possibly seen as a henge-related monument. (10)

NY 52382817 Little Round Table henge. Remains of the western half of a henge, they include a low curving abnk on the northern side which measures some 30m in length and is up to c4.9m wide by 0.15m high. On the southern side of the site there are remains of a low discontinuous earthern bank with somne stone visible, much reduced and spread to a width of 9.4m and up to 0.3m high; scheduled. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1957
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Source Number : 2
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : Atkinson, W. On some earthworks near Eamont Bridge.
Page(s) : 444-55
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Vol(s) : 6, 1881-2
Source Number : 7d
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1st edition 6-inch map 1859.
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Source Number : 7e
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : Atkinson W.On some earthworks near Eamont Bridge
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Source Number : 7f
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Gater JA, 1988, Report on Geophsical Surveys, Penrith Henges, Cumbria, Autumn 1988, Geophsical Surveys Ltd, Bradford (copy in NMR).
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Source Number : 8
Source : The Penrith henges : a survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England
Source details :
Page(s) : 249-264
Figs. : 2,8,9
Plates : 15
Vol(s) : 58, 1992
Source Number : 9
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage SAM List Cumbria 31/3/94 p36
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Source Number : 10
Source : Henge monuments and related sites of Great Britain : air photographic evidence and catalogue
Source details :
Page(s) : 107
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Vol(s) : 175
Source Number : 11
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage SAM Amendment 14.1.94
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Source : Little Round Table/Pencil survey
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Source : Little Round Table/Ink survey
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Source : Little Round Table/pencil survey
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Source Number : 3
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : Bersu, G. King Arthur's Round Table. Final report, including the excavations of 1939, with an appendix on the Little Round Table.
Page(s) : 169-206
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Vol(s) : 40, 1940
Source Number : 4
Source : Annotated Record Map
Source details : Rec 6" OGSC Undtd
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 RL 23-AUG-68
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Source Number : 6
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1971
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Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Peter Topping and Keith Blood/1989/ RCHME Penrith Henges Survey
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Source Number : 7a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Stukeley W, 1776, Itinerarium Curiosum, 1776, 43, pl 84.
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Source Number : 7b
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Pennant T, 1790, A Tour of Scotland; 1769, 5th edition, 1, 1790, 277-8.
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Source Number : 7c
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Hutchinson W, 1776, An Excursion to the Lakes in Westmorland and Cumberland; with a Tour through Part of the Northern Couties in the Years 1773 and 1774, 1776, 91.
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Late Neolithic
Display Date : Late Neolithic
Monument End Date : -2200
Monument Start Date : -2900
Monument Type : Henge, Circular Enclosure
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Later Prehistoric
Display Date : Later Prehistoric
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -4000
Monument Type : Circular Enclosure
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 23676
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 52 NW 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 12002
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 11978
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, LITTLE ROUND TABLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1939-01-01
End Date : 1939-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NY 52 NW 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1968-08-23
End Date : 1968-08-23
Associated Activities : Primary, LITTLE ROUND TABLE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1988-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: PENRITH HENGES SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1988-09-06
End Date : 1989-01-31