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Stanton Drew Great Circle

Hob Uid: 201201
Location :
Bath and North East Somerset
Stanton Drew
Grid Ref : ST6003463276
Summary : The Great Circle at Stanton Drew is a stone circle shown by geophysical survey to be contained within a circular ditched henge enclosure, and to contain 9 concentric circles, probably made up of closely spaced pits or post holes. The henge ditch is an almost perfect circle with an outer diameter of circa 135 metres, and a width of 5-7 metres. The stone circle itself comprises up to 26 extant upright stones, and may originally have comprised as many as 30. The henge ditch has a large gap or entrance on the north east side. An avenue of standing stones leads away from this north east entrance, though not from its centre, for some 88 metres in the direction of the nearby, smaller, north eastern circle ( record 1097243), before joining up with an avenue leading from that circle. Only one find has been reported from the Great Circle. In the mid 17th century, after one of the stones had fallen, human bones and an object described as a "round bell, like a large horse-bell" were found. While human burial at the foot of a standing stone is by no means unknown, the "bell", whatever it is, suggests some caution over assigning a date to the burial. The Great Circle stands within a complex of standing stone monuments, including the aforementioned North Eastern circle, a second smaller circle to the south west, a cove some distance to the west, and a single stone to the north east, as well as more dubious stones further to the west. See individual records for further details.
More information : [ST 60006327]. Stone Circle (1)

Stanton Drew Stone Circles are situated six miles south of Bristol, and immediately east of the village of Stanton Drew. There are three stone circles, two of which have stone avenues extending eastwards from them, a 'cove', and a single recumbent stone known as Hautville's Quoit.

A line drawn south westwards through the centres of the north-eastern circle and the Great Circle will pass through the 'Cove', and these three monuments were therefore probably all constructed at the same period. A line drawn through the centres of the south-western and Great Circles will, if projected north-eastwards, continue to Hautville's Quoit; from which it appears that those three elements also are contemporary. Therefore all the elements in the Stanton Drew group are probaby of the same period - somewhere between 2000 and 1400 B.C.

The stones are mostly of the local conglomerate. One or two are stated to be oolite probably from Dundry about three miles to the north, while Hautville's Quoit and possibly others may be of sarsen. All this group of stone circles is in the guardianship of the Ministry of Works except Hautville's Quoit and the stones at Middle Ham Farm.

The Great Circle is 365-370 feet in diameter north-to-south, and very slightly less east-to-west, being not quite circular. It is composed of a series of somewhat irregularly spaced stones of which there were originally at least 30, 27 being still visible, while two more are known by probing to exist near the point of junction with the Avenue. The Avenue, extending slightly north of due east towards the River Chew, has eight stones which are now visible - four in the north and four in the south row. At a point about 330 feet east of the circumference of this circle, this Avenue converges with that extending from the North-eastern Circle. They may have continued as one Avenue and this soon reached the lower ground which must have then been flooded in winter. Three of the stones of the Great Circle and three of those in the Avenue are still standing; one of the stones in the Great Circle is leaning.

The only find reported from Stanton Drew itself was made about the middle of the 17th century. Referring to the Great Circle at Stanton Drew, the anonymous author of a work entitled "A Fool's Bolt soon shott at Stonage [sic]" (c.1666) stated that 'one of the stones being lately fallen, in the Pitt, in which it stood were found the crumbes of a man's bones, and a round bell, like a large horse-bell, with a skrew as the stemme of it'. If the bell can be discounted, the find of the skeleton may be accepted in view of similar discoveries at the foot of some of the stones at Avebury within the last thirty years. (2)

Re-surveyed at 1:2500. (3)

The monuments at Stanton Drew were first mentioned by John Aubrey, who visited the site in 1664, at a time when the area was under barley. William Stukeley visited and sketched the monuments in 1723. The full history of antiquarian and archaeological interest in the monuments is summarised by Leslie Grinsell (2, 28), who also provides an extensive bibliography. Grinsell also provides considerable detail on folklore atached to the Stanton Drew monuments.

Sources 4 to 27 provide a sample of antiquarian and archaeological discussions about the monuments. Barnatt (29) represents the most recently-published academic assessment of the various stone settings. (4-29)

ST 600633. Two stone circles and two stone avenues at Stanton Drew. Scheduled. (32)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1961
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ministry Of Works Guide: Stanton Drew Stone Circles, 1960 (L.V. Grinsell)
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Somerset archaeology and natural history : the proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 24
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1934-8
Source Number : 12
Source : Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Source details : T Pettigrew
Page(s) : 294-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 12, 1856
Source Number : 13
Source : Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Source details : (C Dymond)
Page(s) : 297, 307
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 33, 1877
Source Number : 14
Source : Somerset archaeology and natural history : the proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society
Source details : H Scarth
Page(s) : 159-72
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 14, 1867
Source Number : 15
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 480-1
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 87, 1930
Source Number : 16
Source : Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London
Source details : W Lukis
Page(s) : 347-51
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 9
Source Number : 17
Source : Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London
Source details : W Lukis
Page(s) : 148-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 10
Source Number : 18
Source : Ancient earthworks and camps of Somerset
Source details : E Burrow (1924) Ancient Earthworks & Camps of Somerset, illus
Page(s) : 17-19
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Source Number : 19
Source : The archaeology of Wessex : an account of Wessex antiquities from the earliest times to the end of the pagan-Saxon period, with special reference to existing field monuments
Source details : L Grinsell (1958) Archaeology of Wessex plan
Page(s) : 69-71
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Source Number : 20
Source : University of Bristol Spelaeological Society proceedings
Source details : Tratman, Grinsell, Kendal
Page(s) : 110-26
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 8, 1958
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 GHP 23-DEC-65
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Source Number : 21
Source : University of Bristol Spelaeological Society proceedings
Source details : E Tratman
Page(s) : 40-2
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Vol(s) : 11, 1966
Source Number : 22
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : A Burl (1977) Stone Circles of Great Britain and Ireland plan
Page(s) : 104-6
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Source Number : 23
Source : British Archaeological Report (BAR) British series
Source details : A Thom (1980) Megalithic Rings, plan
Page(s) : 116-7
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 91
Source Number : 24
Source : Avon past
Source details : L Grinsell
Page(s) : 04-Aug
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 8, 1983
Source Number : 25
Source : Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society
Source details : M McGarvie
Page(s) : 102-4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 27, 1983
Source Number : 26
Source : Bristol & Avon archaeology
Source details : R Williams
Page(s) : 40-1
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 5, 1986
Source Number : 27
Source : Avon's past from the air
Source details : Avon's Past from the Air c.1984, photo (Avon SMR)
Page(s) : 5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 28
Source : The megalithic monuments of Stanton Drew
Source details : Grinsell, L.V. 1994 The Megalithic Monuments of Stanton Drew. Cliftonprint. Bristol
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Source Number : 29
Source : Stone circles of Britain : taxonomic and distributional analyses and a catalogue of sites in England, Scotland and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 441-2
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 215 (i-ii)
Source Number : 30
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : English Heritage News Release (10 November 1997: ref 850/1197)
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Minimenta Antiqua I 1799 (E King)
Page(s) : 142-3
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 31
Source : The English Heritage visitors' handbook 1998-99
Source details :
Page(s) : 92
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 32
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 09-Sep-94
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details :
Page(s) : 198-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 25, 1834
Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Rude Stone Monuments 1872 plan illus
Page(s) : 148
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Bath Natural History and Archaeology Field Club, 1885 (Tucker)
Page(s) : 257
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 5
Source Number : 8
Source : The gentleman's magazine library
Source details : Gentleman's Magazine Library: Archaeology 2, 1886
Page(s) : 69
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : The Stones at Stanton Drew (Morgan, Lloyd)
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 10
Source : Somerset archaeology and natural history : the proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 87
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Vol(s) : 1904-8

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Late Neolithic
Display Date : Late Neolithic
Monument End Date : -2200
Monument Start Date : -2900
Monument Type : Stone Circle, Stone Avenue, Henge, Timber Circle
Evidence : Structure, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Uncertain
Display Date : Date uncertain
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Burial
Evidence : Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Uncertain
Component Monument Type : Burial
Object Type : BELL
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : AV 44
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 22856
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : AV 23
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 316
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : ST 66 SW 2
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 201228
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1610694
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1610695
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1097273
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON ST 66 SW 2
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1965-12-23
End Date : 1965-12-23
Associated Activities : Primary, HAUTVILLES QUOIT
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1969-01-01
End Date : 1969-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HAUTVILLE QUOIT
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1969-01-01
End Date : 1969-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, STANTON DREW GREAT CIRCLE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, STANTON DREW CIRCLES
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, STANTON DREW CIRCLES
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, STANTON DREW CIRCLES
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, STANTON DREW CIRCLES AND AVENUES
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2017-01-01
End Date : 2017-12-31