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HER Number:MDV3338
Name:Multiple stone circle, Yellowmead Down

Summary

The Yellowmead setting consists of four stone circles around a cairn and with a stone row extending away from the south west side is situated on the south west facing slope of Yellowmead Down. The four circles are not concentric and there is a further arc of seven stones on the west side which may be the remains of a fifth circle. The maximum diameter of the outer circle is some 30 metres. Restored by the Reverand Hugh Breton in 1921.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 574 678
Map Sheet:SX56NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishSheepstor
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSHEEPSTOR

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX56NE18
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56NE/48
  • Old SAM County Ref: 322
  • Old SAM Ref: 10748
  • Pastscape: 438550

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Worth, R. H., 1922, 41st Report of the Barrow Committee, 70-72 (Article in Serial). SDV231132.

Yellowmead Down. Three standing stones found, mounds indicating fallen stones forming three concentric circles. Within was the retaining circle of a barrow or cairn. Inner circle has 21 stones with some gaps, tallest stone 0.9 metres high. Second circle has 31 stones, possibly ten missing; up to 0.46 metres high. Third circle, 28 stones, possibly 14 missing. Fourth circle, restored 1922 by Rev. Breton.
Three stones were standing in 1921 when all the fallen stones were raised during restoration. There also appears to have been a stone row consisting of six stones outside circle to west leading away from the stone circles.


Breton, H. H., 1932, The Forest of Dartmoor, 2, Plymouth (Monograph). SDV231147.


Worth, R. H., 1937, 56th Report of the Barrow Committee, 98-99 (Article in Serial). SDV20973.


Brailsford, J. W., 1938, Bronze Age Stone Monuments of Dartmoor, 447 (Article in Serial). SDV304210.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950/1979, SX56NE18 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV231143.

(Notes given from Worth's report in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association, Vol. 54).
Some years ago a stone circle was found on Yellowmead Down, near Sheepstor. Only three stones were then standing but the fallen stones, although mostly overgrown, were clearly traceable as mounds. It was obvious that there were at least three approximately concentric circles. Last year the Reverend H. H. Breton determined to uncover the fallen stones and to re-erect them for their better preservation. The result proved that the circle was four-fold, the innermost member being obviously the retaining circle of a barrow or cairn long since levelled out or removed. It also appeared that there had been a stone row, leading away from the circle, but not pointing truly to its centre.
The innermost circle has a diameter of about 21 feet 1 inch. It now consists of 21 stones, but there are gaps, and there may have been eight or nine more stones. The stones are rather closely set, the broadest measures 36 inches along the circumference and is 8 inches thick and stands 20 inches metres above the ground. The tallest stone is 23 inches in breadth 15 inches thick and 36 inches in height.
The second circle measures up to 39 feet 6 inches in diameter and now includes 31 stones, although there could have been at least 10 more originally. The stones may have originally been arranged around 18 inches apart and they are on the whole smaller than those of the inner circle, none standing more than 18 inches in height.
The third circle measures up to 50 feet 6 inches in diameter and is not quite concentric with the second circle. The present number of stones is 28 but it is thought there may have been up to 14 more originally. The size of stones ranges between those used in the inner and second circles.
The fourth and outermost circle measures up to 67 feet in diameter and is also not concentric with the third circle. There are now 24 stones in the circle with obvious gaps that would require 13 more stones to complete the circle. The stones are the largest in the monument; the finest is 40 inches wide, 17 inches thick and stands 44 inches high.
A difficult feature to interpret is that of the stone row(s) outside the fourth circle to the west. Eight stones in a double alignment were recorded on the sketch plan, pointing towards the circles, although not towards the centre. Further rows may have once existed.
Site visit 12th June 1950. As described by R. H. Worth.
(Visited 23/03/1979) At SX 57486784 a complex of four concentric circles of stones, placed around a cairn 5.1 metres in diameter and 0.2 metres high (see amended plan) with the edge of a plateau at 285 metres OD. The stones of the circles are as shown on Worth's plan, the tallest being 1.0 metres, the remainder generally much less; the overall diameter of the settings is 18.7 metres. Although scheduled as 'Stone Circles' they bear some resemblance to the stone settings recently discovered near Corringdon Ball (SX 66 SE 115) and to some Welsh ring-cairns (a), particularly an example on Carnedd Hengwm Gwyn, when concentric rings protrude through a scatter of stone (SH 62 SW 35).
This site is not included by Burl in his 'Stone Circles of the British Isles'.
The double row is as planned by Worth except that one stone is now missing (see plan). It is 6.9 metres long with mostly small line slabs, set on edge. They are about 0.3 metres long and 0.3 metres high, the intervals between stones and between the rows being 0.8 metres.
Surveyed at 1:10 000 on MSD


Worth, R. H., 1953, Dartmoor, 189, Fig 66 (Monograph). SDV231148.


Lynch, F., 1972, Unknown, 63 (Article in Serial). SDV231155.


Fox, A., 1973, South West England 3,500BC - AD600 (Revised Edition), 70 (Monograph). SDV16216.


Pettit, P., 1974, Prehistoric Dartmoor, Plate opposite 71, lower. (Monograph). SDV231149.


National Monument Record, 1977, SX5667, SX5667/1/126 (Aerial Photograph). SDV231152.

Circle visible on aerial photograph.


Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 166 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

Site visit 21st June 1974. Fourfold stone circle, the innermost the retaining circle of a cairn with slightly raised interior. Diameter of cairn circle 6.6 metres, height only slight.


Robinson, R. + Greeves, T. A. P., 1981, Two Unrecorded Prehistoric Multiple Stone Rings, Glasscombe, Ugborough, South Dartmoor, 35 (Article in Serial). SDV142714.

Fourfold circles. Possible multiple stone ring, as at Glasscombe (See MDV15960).


Robinson, R., 1984, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1984 (Un-published). SDV343082.

Field Monument Warden site visit 17th February 1984.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

Circles are visible on National Monuments Record aerial photographs.


Turner, J. R., 1990, Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor, 54, 58, 82 (Article in Serial). SDV229817.

G30. Multiple stone circle. Four circles, outer 9.8 metres in diameter, inner 6.0 metres in diameter. Circle 1, nineteen stones, three fallen. Circle 2, twenty nine stones, two fallen. Circle 3, twenty-six stones, 1 fallen. Circle 4, twenty-four stones. Possible ruined stone rows on lower side.


Butler, J., 1994, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West, 74-76, Map 47.11 (Monograph). SDV137656.

The present appearance of the fourfold circles on Yellowmead Down is entirely due to the ‘restoration’ work of the Reverend Hugh Breton in 1921 who arranged for the stone, first noted by R.H. Worth a few years earlier, to be re-erected. According to Worth, this work was ‘very faithfully done’, with only one stone brought in to fill an empty socket hole; the remainder were erected in the positions they were discovered lying in.
A few slabs have once again fallen but well over 100 stones stand in place on this impressive monument. The innermost ring of close-set slabs is circular, forming the kerb around a slight central mound; a possible cairn that shows no signs of disturbance. The outer three rings become progressively more irregular away from the cairn circle and are not truly concentric, their centres shift progressively eastwards. Each diameter increases by 4 to 5 metres. The inner ring measures 6.5 metres with 22 stones, next 11.5 metres (32 stones), 15 metres (27 stones) and 19 metres (24 stones in place). The largest slabs are in the outer ring, particularly a trio on the south-east side.
Stones radiate away from the downhill side, set at right angles to the outer ring. Further slabs are in line with two of these, continuing below the leat and this may represent the remains of a stone row(s).


Armstrong, K. + Cheetham, P., 2008, Archaeological Geophysical Survey in Peatland Environments: Case Study Survey at Yellowmead Multiple Stone Circles and an adjacent Cairn, Yellowmead Down, Sheepstor, Dartmoor. Interim Report (Report - Survey). SDV360513.


2009, Interim Reporting on Ground Truthing Excavations at Yellowmead Down, Sheepstor (Devon), October 2008 (Report - Interim). SDV360512.


GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

The four stone circles show up very distinctly on the 2010 aerial photography of Yelllowmead Down.


English Heritage, 2011, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV347072.

The Yellowmead circles are an unusual example of their kind, surrounding a cairn and also incorporating a stone row. This combination of monument types is rare and emphasises the variety of ceremonial and funerary monuments on this part of the Moor.
This setting of four stone circles around a cairn and with a stone row extending away from the south west side is situated on the south west facing slope of Yellowmead Down. The four circles are not concentric and there is a further arc of seven stones up to 0.4 meters in height on the west side which may be the remains of a fifth circle. The innermost circle has 22 stones up to 0.9 meters in height; it surrounds a cairn 4.0 meters in diameter and 0.20 meters in height. The outer rings have 32 stones, 27 stones and 30 stones respectively, the inner two being only up to 0.25 meters in height and all having their largest stones around the south side. The maximum diameter of the outer circle is some 30 meters.
The remains of a double stone alignment extend some 10 meters from the south west side; there are three stones in the south row and a similar number in the north row, although more were recorded in 1922. The stones of the alignments are up to 0.3 meters in height and on average 2.0 meters apart. The alignment avenue is approximately 1.0 meter in width (Scheduled 1963, Amended 1993). Other details:


National Monuments Record, 2019, Pastscape, 438550 (SX56NE18) (Website). SDV362732.

A group of four concentric stone circles of which the innermost one is considered to be a cairn circle. Three stones were standing in 1921 when all the fallen stones were raised during restoration. There also appears to have been a stone row leading away from the stone circles (citing Worth, R. H., pgs 70-72).

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. 74-76, Map 47.11.
SDV142714Article in Serial: Robinson, R. + Greeves, T. A. P.. 1981. Two Unrecorded Prehistoric Multiple Stone Rings, Glasscombe, Ugborough, South Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 39. Paperback Volume. 35.
SDV16216Monograph: Fox, A.. 1973. South West England 3,500BC - AD600 (Revised Edition). South West England. Hardback Volume. 70.
SDV20973Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1937. 56th Report of the Barrow Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 69. A4 Unbound. 98-99.
SDV229817Article in Serial: Turner, J. R.. 1990. Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 48. Paperback Volume. 54, 58, 82.
SDV231132Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1922. 41st Report of the Barrow Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 54. 70-72.
SDV231143Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950/1979. SX56NE18. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV231147Monograph: Breton, H. H.. 1932. The Forest of Dartmoor, 2, Plymouth. The Forest of Dartmoor, 2, Plymouth. 2. Unknown.
SDV231148Monograph: Worth, R. H.. 1953. Dartmoor. Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 189, Fig 66.
SDV231149Monograph: Pettit, P.. 1974. Prehistoric Dartmoor. Prehistoric Dartmoor. Plate opposite 71, lower..
SDV231152Aerial Photograph: National Monument Record. 1977. SX5667. National Monument Record Aerial Photograph. Unknown. SX5667/1/126.
SDV231155Article in Serial: Lynch, F.. 1972. Unknown. Scottish Archaeological Forum. 4. 63.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 166.
SDV304210Article in Serial: Brailsford, J. W.. 1938. Bronze Age Stone Monuments of Dartmoor. Antiquity. 12, Issue 48. Digital. 447.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV343082Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1984. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1984. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
SDV347072National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2011. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV360512Report - Interim: 2009. Interim Reporting on Ground Truthing Excavations at Yellowmead Down, Sheepstor (Devon), October 2008. Bournemouth University. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV360513Report - Survey: Armstrong, K. + Cheetham, P.. 2008. Archaeological Geophysical Survey in Peatland Environments: Case Study Survey at Yellowmead Multiple Stone Circles and an adjacent Cairn, Yellowmead Down, Sheepstor, Dartmoor. Interim Report. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV362732Website: National Monuments Record. 2019. Pastscape. https://www.pastscape.org.uk/. Website. 438550 (SX56NE18).

Associated Monuments

MDV4025Related to: Cairn 37 meters north-east of Yellowmead stone circles (Monument)
MDV25281Related to: Leat south-east of Yellowmead Down (Monument)
MDV15960Related to: Multiple ring features at Corringdon Ball, Glasscombe (Monument)
MDV80769Related to: Stone row associated with Yellowmead stone circle (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7439 - Excavations on Yellowmead Down
  • EDV7440 - Geophysical survey on Yellowmead Down

Date Last Edited:May 17 2019 1:07PM