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HER Number:MDV14797
Name:Merrivale Stone Row A, Dartmoor Forest

Summary

Northern double stone row at Merrivale with a possible cairn at the east end. The northern stone alignment is oriented approximately east to west and consists of a 182 metre long double row of upright stones, with heights ranging 0.2-0.4 metres, although the blocking stone at the eastern end is much larger and stands up to 1.2 metres high. Spacing of stones along the row averages 1.7 metres and distance between the rows averages 1.1 metres. Northern double stone row contains evidence of 180 stones, 167 of which are visible (standing, leaning or recumbent); the remaining 13 are obscured by vegetation. The eastern end of the two rows is marked by a massive blocking slab; there is no evidence for a comparable slab at the western end. There appears to be no standard shape or size of the stones included in the alignment and the height of stones used is also extremely variable.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 554 748
Map Sheet:SX57SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishWALKHAMPTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX57SE12
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 440056
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/136
  • Old SAM County Ref: 333
  • Old SAM Ref: 24193

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • STONE ALIGNMENT (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)

Full description

Wilkinson, J. G., 1860, The Rock-Basins of Dartmoor, and Some British Remains in England, 114 (Article in Serial). SDV273188.

Other details: plate 7.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Double stone row shown on 19th century map.

Brent, F., 1883, On a group of prehistoric remains on Dartmoor, 220 (Article in Serial). SDV273189.

Worth, R. N., 1892, The Stone Rows of Dartmoor, 395-6 (Article in Serial). SDV237176.

Worth, R. N., 1895, The Stone Rows of Dartmoor: Part 4, 440 (Article in Serial). SDV273221.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

Double stone row shown on early 20th century map.

1906, 1906, Untitled Source, OS 6" (Cartographic). SDV273212.

Stone rows shown on OS 6" (1906) map.

Worth, R. H., 1930, Proceedings at the Annual Meeting, 33-4 (Article in Serial). SDV231168.

Tyler, F. C., 1930-1931, Kistvaens at Thornworthy and Stone Rows, 117-9 (Article in Serial). SDV251072.

The Merrivale group is included in a discussion by Tyler on the orientation of stone rows.

Brailsford, J. W., 1938, Bronze Age Stone Monuments of Dartmoor, 445,448 (Article in Serial). SDV304210.

Worth, R. H., 1941, Retaining Circles Associated with Stone Rows, Dartmoor, 235 (Article in Serial). SDV251083.

Other details: Figs 6-7.

Worth, R. H., 1946, The Stone Rows of Dartmoor. Part 1, 297 (Article in Serial). SDV251172.

Northern double row with no cairn or barrow directly connected with it. At its eastern end is a blocking stone 1.2 metres high and the width between the two rows is irregular with a mean spacing of 1.0 metre. Row measures 180 metres in length with direction north 83 degrees 30' east. Row no. 27. Other details: Plate 36.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950, SX57SE12, Stone Row A (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV273168.

(18/08/1950) Double stone row consisting of stones set upright with a large blocking stone or menhir at the eastern end. A collection or rough circle of stones at eastern end suggests a cairn of 6.5 metres in diameter. This alleged cairn incorporates the menhir in its western extreme. For alleged cairn see PRN29078.
Northern stone row A: SX55367479 to SX55557482. The row is 182 metres long and although it is likely that it once extended further west there is now no evidence of post holes or stones which can be assigned to the row with any degree of certainty. A slight lowering of the ground surface may be the result of casual peat digging in this area. The double row is formed by random post and slab stones, the latter usually aligned along the row. The distance between the rows is fairly constant at 1.2 metres and the spacing between the stones 1.5 metres closing to 1.0 metre towards the eastern end. Almost two thirds of the stones are under 0.2 metres high but they are consistently higher in the eastern 60 metres of the row; 0.4 metres being the average height. At the eastern end there is a blocking stone and beyond it a number of earth-fast and loose slabs which seem to represent a former kerb or circle about 5.6 metres in diameter. The blocking stone is part of the circle with two or possibly three earth-fast slabs on end, three recumbent slabs and four other post or slab stones which are much displaced or entirely unconnected. The stones are spaced at about 2.0 metre intervals; uprooted slabs are from 0.3 metres square to 0.4 metres by 0.5 metres, earth-fast stones 0.1 metres high. There is no sign of a cairn or cist.

Ordnance Survey, 1952, 25 inch map, OS 25" (Cartographic). SDV258807.

Wood, J. E. + Penny, A., 1975, A Megalithic observatory on Dartmoor, 257 (Article in Serial). SDV221082.

Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 173 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

Emmett, D. D., 1979, Stone Rows: The Traditional View Reconsidered, 111 (Article in Serial). SDV251087.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1980, SX57SE12 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV221084.

(11/01/1980) A: North Row, SX 55367479 to SX 55557482. The row is 182m. long and although it is likely that it once extended further to the west there is now no evidence of post holes or stones which can be assigned to the row with any degree of certainty. A slight lowering of the ground surface may be the result of casual peat digging in this area. (See ground photographs).
The double row is formed by random post and slab stones, the latter usually aligned along the row. The distance between the rows is a fairly constant 1.2m. and the spacing between the stones 1.5m., closing to 1.0m. towards the east end. Almost two thirds of the stones are under 0.2m. high but they are consistently higher in the eastern 60m., 0.4m. being the average height.
At the eastern end there is a blocking stone and beyond it a number of earthfast and loose slabs which seem to represent a former kerb or circle about 5.6m. in diameter. The blocking stone is part of the circle with two or possibly three earthfast slabs on end, three recumbent slabs, and four other post or slab stones which are much displaced or entirely unconnected. The stones are spaced at about 2.0m. intervals; uprooted slabs are from 0.3m. square to 0.4m. by 0.5m., earthfast stones 0.1m. high. There is no sign of a cairn or cist.
In both instances the concentration at the east may be due to the close proximity of the source material in an abundance of clitter, whereas there is virtually no surface stone alongside or to the west of the rows (see ground photographs).
Stone rows and cairn surveyed at 1:10 000 on MSD at 1:2500 and at 1:500 (for which see illustrations).

Pearce, S. M., 1981, The Archaeology of South West Britain, 76-7, 98 (Monograph). SDV81689.

Department of Environment, 1986, Scheduled Monument Consent (Schedule Document). SDV273206.

Row A of Merrivale group. Scheduled Monument Consent granted for insertion of polythene pipe to alleviate flooding.

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset. (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

(11/08/1994) Cairn forming part of a cluster of Neolithic and Bronze Age ritual features including at least three stone alignments, a stone circle, 13 cairns and a standing stone.

Hughes, M. R., 1991, Botanical Survey of Devon Properties: Merrivale Stone Rows (Report - Survey). SDV344988.

Butler, J., 1994, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West, 23-25, Map 44, Figure 44.7 & 44.7.1 (Monograph). SDV137656.

Northernmost of the two double stone rows at Merrivale, this alignment is 183 meters in length and is the most regular of the two. Distance between the two rows narrows a little from west to east, from 1.3 meters to 1.2 meters, while intervals between the stones increases from 1.6 meters to 1.9 meters also from west to east. Remains of what appears to be a cairn circle at the eastern end, where the stone rows terminate. As with the southern alignment, Butler considers that this alignment may be complete in its current state, as no evidence exists of the rows having once extended further in either direction.

Probert, S. A. J. + Newman, P., 1994, Merrivale Stone Rows: A New Survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, Stone Row A (Report - Survey). SDV273202.

(December 1993) Centred SX 55457479. Two double stone rows lie in open moorland forming the gently sloping crest of Long Ash Hill south of B 3357. The rows lie at approximately 340m above OD and are oriented roughly east to west. They are almost parallel, being 25m between centres at their eastern ends increasing to 32m at the west. A leat still used to convey water to Hillside Stables separates the two monuments and flows to within 2.0m of the northern row. A single row (National Monuments Record SX 57 SE 115) runs roughly south-west from a small cairn at SX 55397476, some 4.75m south of the south row.
The northern stone alignment is oriented approximately east to west and consists of a 182 metre long double row of upright stones, with heights ranging 0.2-0.4 metres, although the blocking stone at the eastern end is much larger and stands up to 1.2 metres high. Spacing of stones along the row averages 1.7 meters and distance between the rows averages 1.1 metres. Northern double stone row contains evidence of 180 stones, 167 of which are visible (standing, leaning or recumbent); the remaining 13 are obscured by vegetation. The eastern end of the two rows is marked by a massive blocking slab; there is no evidence for a comparable slab at the western end. There appears to be no standard shape or size of the stones included in the alignment and the height of stones used is also extremely variable.
The stone rows were surveyed and recorded at 1:200 scale in advance of repair and conservation work on the leat which bisects them (RCHME Field Investigation, 05-JAN-1994, SAJ Probert & P Newman).

Quinnell, N. V., 1995, Stone Rows (Personal Comment). SDV215687.

As above.

Straker, V., 1996, Assessment of potential for pollen analsis of peat sampled between the stone rows at Merrivale, Dartmoor (Report - Scientific). SDV344998.

Griffith, F. M., 1996, DAP/ABF, 3-6 (Aerial Photograph). SDV273204.

Department of Environment, 1997, Scheduled Monument Consent (Schedule Document). SDV273180.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for various repairs.

Haslam, R., 1998, Survey of stone rows at Merrivale (Report - Survey). SDV344981.

Probert, S. A. J. + Fletcher, M. J., 2000, The Merrivale Guardianship Area, Walkhampton, Devon, Other details: 2. (Report - Survey). SDV344969.

(30/10/1999) The stone rows are well preserved even though they are the focus of intense visitor activity. The fragile landscape was surveyed in 1999 as part of a new investigation of the guardianship site.

Walker, J., 2003, Merrivale's double stone rows, 22-23 (Article in Serial). SDV273218.

The double stone row may have been used as a calendar, with shadows relating to the equinoxes and solstices.

DCMS, 2004, Merrivale stone rows (Schedule Document). SDV319929.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for a five year programme of management works including erosion repairs.

Dartmoor National Park + English Heritage, 2004, Merrivale: An Archaeological Landscape, 12 (Leaflet). SDV320201.

The northern double stone row at Merrivale is 180 meters long with a terminal stone at the eastern end. The cairn shown on some of the early plans is still visible beyond the eastern terminal.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC, 2015-2017, 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV361462.

Stones visible on aerial photograph.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording forms, MER-13 (Worksheet). SDV362781.

Visited 2/10/2019.Stone row generally covered with grass and with patches of closely cropped gorse. Some of the stones, particularly at the E end, are surrounded by patches of bare earth. A path runs between the 2 rows of stones which is deeply worn in places. Overall condition good. Photo taken.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording photographs, MER-13 (Photograph). SDV363073.

Photo looking 270° showing bare earth surrounding some stones and a worn patch in the path between the 2 rows.

Ordnance Survey, 2021, MasterMap 2021 (Cartographic). SDV364015.

Northern double stone row shown on modern mapping

Historic England, 2021, National Heritage List for England, 1013429 (National Heritage List for England). SDV364016.

This monument includes three stone alignments, ten cairns, three stone hut circles and a length of the Great Western Reave, it is situated on a gentle south west facing slope on Longash Common overlooking the valley of the River Walkham. The northern stone alignment is orientated approximately east to west and includes a 182 metres long, double row of upright stones, with heights ranging between 0.2 metres and 0.4 metres, although the blocking stone at the eastern end is much larger and stands up to 1.2 metres high. The spacing of the stones along the row averages 1.7 metres and the distance between the rows averages 1.1 metres.

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 15/10/2021 (Website). SDV364039.

Additional reference (citing Clare, T., 1982, Archaeological sites of Devon and Cornwall, pg 97-102, illustrations).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV137656Monograph: Butler, J.. 1994. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West. Three. Paperback Volume. 23-25, Map 44, Figure 44.7 & 44.7.1.
SDV215687Personal Comment: Quinnell, N. V.. 1995. Stone Rows.
SDV221082Article in Serial: Wood, J. E. + Penny, A.. 1975. A Megalithic observatory on Dartmoor. Nature. 257. 257.
SDV221084Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1980. SX57SE12. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Unknown.
SDV231168Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1930. Proceedings at the Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 62. 33-4.
SDV237176Article in Serial: Worth, R. N.. 1892. The Stone Rows of Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 24. Digital. 395-6.
SDV251072Article in Serial: Tyler, F. C.. 1930-1931. Kistvaens at Thornworthy and Stone Rows. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 16. 117-9.
SDV251083Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1941. Retaining Circles Associated with Stone Rows, Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 73. 235.
SDV251087Article in Serial: Emmett, D. D.. 1979. Stone Rows: The Traditional View Reconsidered. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 37. Paperback Volume. 111.
SDV251172Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1946. The Stone Rows of Dartmoor. Part 1. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 78. A5 Hardback. 297.
SDV258807Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1952. 25 inch map. 25". OS 25".
SDV273168Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950. SX57SE12. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index. Stone Row A.
SDV273180Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1997. Scheduled Monument Consent.
SDV273188Article in Serial: Wilkinson, J. G.. 1860. The Rock-Basins of Dartmoor, and Some British Remains in England. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 16. Unknown. 114.
SDV273189Article in Serial: Brent, F.. 1883. On a group of prehistoric remains on Dartmoor. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 39. 220.
SDV273202Report - Survey: Probert, S. A. J. + Newman, P.. 1994. Merrivale Stone Rows: A New Survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. RCHME Field Investigation. A4 Comb Bound. Stone Row A.
SDV273204Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1996. DAP/ABF. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3-6.
SDV273206Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1986. Scheduled Monument Consent.
SDV273212Cartographic: 1906. 1906. 6". OS 6".
SDV273218Article in Serial: Walker, J.. 2003. Merrivale's double stone rows. Dartmoor Magazine. 71. 22-23.
SDV273221Article in Serial: Worth, R. N.. 1895. The Stone Rows of Dartmoor: Part 4. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 27. Digital. 440.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 173.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital.
SDV304210Article in Serial: Brailsford, J. W.. 1938. Bronze Age Stone Monuments of Dartmoor. Antiquity. 12, Issue 48. Digital. 445,448.
SDV319929Schedule Document: DCMS. 2004. Merrivale stone rows.
SDV320201Leaflet: Dartmoor National Park + English Heritage. 2004. Merrivale: An Archaeological Landscape. A5 Stapled. 12.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #81350 ]
SDV344969Report - Survey: Probert, S. A. J. + Fletcher, M. J.. 2000. The Merrivale Guardianship Area, Walkhampton, Devon. English Heritage. 1247982. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. Other details: 2..
SDV344981Report - Survey: Haslam, R.. 1998. Survey of stone rows at Merrivale. Bournemouth University School of Conservation Sciences Report. Unknown.
SDV344988Report - Survey: Hughes, M. R.. 1991. Botanical Survey of Devon Properties: Merrivale Stone Rows. Eclogue Environmental Consultancy. A4 Stapled.
SDV344998Report - Scientific: Straker, V.. 1996. Assessment of potential for pollen analsis of peat sampled between the stone rows at Merrivale, Dartmoor. A4 Unbound.
SDV361462Aerial Photograph: Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. 2015-2017. 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs. Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. Photograph (Digital).
SDV362781Worksheet: Various. 2018-2020. PALs Condition Recording forms. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital. MER-13.
SDV363073Photograph: Various. 2018-2020. PALs Condition Recording photographs. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital. MER-13.
SDV364015Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap 2021. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV364016National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2021. National Heritage List for England. Digital. 1013429.
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 15/10/2021.
SDV81689Monograph: Pearce, S. M.. 1981. The Archaeology of South West Britain. The Archaeology of South West Britain. Hardback Volume. 76-7, 98.

Associated Monuments

MDV5000Related to: Cairn associated with stone row, Merrivale (Monument)
MDV14796Related to: Cairn with cist in middle of stone row, Merrivale (Monument)
MDV3738Related to: Cist and Cairn south of Stone Alignment, Merrivale (Monument)
MDV131684Related to: Isolated upright stones, Merrivale (Monument)
MDV80530Related to: Merrivale Leat (Monument)
MDV14795Related to: Merrivale Stone Row B, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV29078Related to: Possible cairn associated with stone row, Merrivale (Monument)
MDV3757Related to: Probable ring cairn, Merrivale (Monument)
MDV5001Related to: Short stone row, Merrivale (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4829 - Survey of Merrivale stone rows prior to conservation work
  • EDV4830 - Survey of guardianship area, Merrivale
  • EDV4831 - Repairs to leat, Merrivale
  • EDV4833 - Restoration to leat and erosion repairs, Merrivale
  • EDV4836 - Erosion repairs at Merrivale
  • EDV4837 - Repairs to leat, Merrivale
  • EDV4838 - Erosion repairs at Merrivale
  • EDV4839 - Repairs to leat, Merrivale
  • EDV4841 - Repairs to leat, Merrivale
  • EDV4842 - Erosion repairs at Merrivale
  • EDV4843 - Repair work at Merrivale
  • EDV4844 - Repair work at Merrivale
  • EDV4845 - Survey of the stone rows, Merrivale
  • EDV4846 - Erosion repairs at Merrivale
  • EDV4848 - Erosion repairs at Merrivale
  • EDV4849 - Erosion repairs at Merrivale
  • EDV4851 - Botanical survey, Merrivale
  • EDV4852 - Survey visit to record flora, Merrivale
  • EDV4854 - Peat analysis at Merrivale
  • EDV4855 - Soil chemistry survey at Merrivale

Date Last Edited:Oct 15 2021 11:40AM