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Historic England Research Records

Priddy Circles

Hob Uid: 197570
Location :
Somerset
Mendip
Priddy
Grid Ref : ST5400053000
Summary : A linear arrangement of four circular earthwork enclosures, arranged roughly south-south-west to north-north-east and usually numbered one to four in the same direction. The southernmost is immediately east of Harptree Lodge, and the first three are quite closely spaced. The northernmost, which is separated from the other three by a gap of some 350 metres, is immediately northeast of Bandpitt Farm. Each enclosure has been recorded separately (ST 55 SW 124-7), and those records should be consulted for more detail. The gap separating Priddy 4 from the remainder seems genuine - there is no "missing" enclosure. This gap is bisected by the course of the Roman road (RR 45b) which runs northwest-southeast between Charterhouse and Old Sarum. Excavations between 1956 and 1959 focused on Priddy 1, although some test borings were undertaken in Priddy 4. No dating evidence was found, but the excavators assumed all four circles to be henge monuments. The enclosures are currently scheduled as probable Neolithic ritual or ceremonial monuments similar to the henge class. Apart from the lack of finds, the henge interpretation is rendered problematical by the presence of external rather than internal ditches. The obvious comparison is with Stonehenge phase 1, although that monument presents morphological and chronological difficulties in terms of interpretation as a henge. Priddy 4 contains several features interpreted as Bronze Age bowl barrows (ST 55 SW 6), though none have been excavated. Numerous features clustered around the circles and beyond have been interpreted in the past as old mine or quarry workings. More recent analysis suggests that although there is some evidence for mining, many of the features around and within the circles are natural sinkholes.
More information : 1 [ST 53955255] 2 [ST 54015279] 3 [ST 54095302] 4 [ST 54215355] PRIDDY CIRCLES [TI] HENGES [GT]. (1)

Priddy Circles, East Harptree, are four circular banks from 490 ft. to 560 ft. in diameter, each with an outer ditch. The circles are arranged NNE almost in a straight line, extending over three quarters of a mile.

See AO/LP/63/207 - plan of three of the circles. (2)

The circles belong to the secondary Neolithic and fall into the henge group of monuments, class 1. (2-4)

Scheduled. (4)

Priddy Circles are as described and as illustrated in AO/LP/63/207. The banks average 1.0m high and the ditch 0.4m deep.
Published survey (1:2500) correct. (5)

Priddy Circles - report on 1956 excavations. (6)

Natural sinkholes in and around the Priddy Circles. (8)

Additional references (7, 9)

Included in a gazetteer of henge monuments and related sites. Where the circles are interpreted as being unlikely to belong to the henge class. See child monuments for details of the individual circles. (10)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 6" (Provisional) 1961
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Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : University of Bristol Spelaeological Society proceedings
Source details : Taylor, C and EK Tratman. The Priddy Circles.
Page(s) : Jul-17
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 8, 1955-6
Source Number : 10
Source : Henge monuments and related sites of Great Britain : air photographic evidence and catalogue
Source details : Sites 167-70
Page(s) : 263-268
Figs. : 265
Plates : 264, 266
Vol(s) : 175
Source Number : 11
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage Schedule Entry 31/01/1997
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : University of Bristol Spelaeological Society proceedings
Source details :
Page(s) : 64
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 9, 1960-1
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ministry of Works. 1961. Ancient Monuments of England and Wales p 81
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 J Palmer 17/06/1966
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5a
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Mendip Barrows Mss (LV Grinsell)
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : University of Bristol Spelaeological Society proceedings
Source details : Tratman, EK. The Priddy Circles, Mendip, Somersrt. Henge Monuments.
Page(s) : 97-125
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 11, 1965-6
Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Burrow, E. 1924. Ancient Earthworks and Camps of Somerset pp 132-3
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 8
Source : University of Bristol Spelaeological Society proceedings
Source details : Stanton, WI. Natural Sink Holes Affecting the Priddy Circles, Mendip.
Page(s) : 355-8
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 17, 1986
Source Number : 9
Source : Somerset archaeology and natural history : the proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 105
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 115, 1971

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Late Neolithic
Display Date : Late Neolithic
Monument End Date : -2200
Monument Start Date : -2900
Monument Type : Hengiform Monument
Evidence : Earthwork, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Uncertain
Display Date :
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Circular Enclosure
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : SO 119
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : AV 37
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : SO 118
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 29037
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 29041
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : ST 55 SW 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 197576
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1041422
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1041421
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1041406
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1041413
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, PRIDDY CIRCLE 1
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1956-01-01
End Date : 1959-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON ST 55 SW 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1966-06-17
End Date : 1966-06-17
Associated Activities : Primary, PRIDDY CIRCLES
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1994-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, PRIDDY CIRCLE I
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2013-01-01
End Date : 2013-12-31