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HER Number:MDV7010
Name:Possible site of stone settings near Spinsters Rock

Summary

Sources from the late 19th century record stone rows and circles here, although the reports are confused and also refer to hut circles. Only signs remaining in the 1970s were a few recorded stones.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 699 907
Map Sheet:SX69SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDrewsteignton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishDREWSTEIGNTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 444094
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX69SE/57

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Polwhele, R., 1793 - 1806, The History of Devonshire, 150-154 (Monograph). SDV21030.


Ormerod, G. W., 1872, Notice of prehistoric remains formerly existing near Drewsteignton Cromlech, 73 (Article in Serial). SDV238225.


Ormerod, G. W., 1872, Unknown, 345-350 (Article in Serial). SDV238213.

Grey described the cromlech (MDV8440) as "overlooking a sacred way and two rows of pillars and several columner circles". Not recorded by Lysons, Rowe, nor observed by Ormerod. (Plan based on Polwhele and Grey is included and a copy of this is in the digitised Parish Files at Dartmoor HER)


Worth, R. N., 1892, The Stone Rows of Dartmoor, 389 (Article in Serial). SDV237176.


Rowe, S., 1896, Perambulation of the Forest of Dartmoor, 31, 40 (Monograph). SDV249697.


Baring Gould, S., 1900, A Book of Dartmoor, 162 (Monograph). SDV277387.


Amery, P. F. S., 1900 - 1901, A Tour across Dartmoor into North Devon by the Rev. John Swete 1789, 89 (Article in Serial). SDV18670.

Swete made a plan in 1789 (the measurements of which are identical to those recorded by Polwhele) and noted several conical pillars in the vicinity and it is suggested that these are the remains of an alignment, shown on a plan with an alternative position SX 69959073 for the hut circles.


Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 629-630 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.


Burnard, R., 1906, Early Man, 348 (Article in Serial). SDV322231.


Victoria County History, 1906, The Victoria History of the County of Devon (Article in Serial). SDV238214.

Near Spinsters' Rock: stone circles and avenues. Remains noted by Polwhele in 1793 and by Grey in 1832. One stone row led to the Rock itself.


Tyler, F. C., 1928-1929, Stone circles at Drewsteignton, 124 (Article in Serial). SDV238227.

(Sometime in 1927) Tyler claims to have found stones corresponding to the dimensions of the eastern circle of the plan published by Ormerod in Transactions of the Devonshire Association. A portion of a ditch was also found as well as a pit 1.5 meters deep containing charcoal. (It is not clear whether he excavated the pit at the time).


Tyler, F. C., 1930, The stone remains in Drewsteignton, 249-60 (Article in Serial). SDV238226.

Hut circles are shown on Grey's plan (Transactions of the Devonshire Association Vol 5, 1872 73ff) at approximately SX69909080, and one is alleged to have been located about 1927.
Tyler (1930) also claimed that stone G formed part of a prehistoric alignment. This stone is a gatepost to a former entrance and it is most unlikely that it is a prehistoric upright in situ.


Brailsford, J. W., 1938, Bronze Age Stone Monuments of Dartmoor, 455 (Article in Serial). SDV304210.

The accounts of stone rows and circles are of dubious accuracy. The only certain features seem to have been an avenue to the west of Spinsters' Rock and a pair of circles nearby.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953-1974, SX69SE25 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV238221.

Worth maintained that the alignments and circles at Spinsters Rock never existed and that the accounts were fabrications (Worth, R. H., 1948).
(Visited 8/4/1953) There is no trace of hut circles in the area under rough pasture. Free-standing stones were located and surveyed.
A: SX69859082 – Roughly rectangular, height 1.5 meters.
B: SX70059062 – A conical stone, 1.6 meters in height.
C: SX70019054 – Similar to ‘B’, 1.5 meters in height.
D: SX69729084 – Rectangular pillar, height 1.4 meters.
E: SX69579087 – In marshy ground, slotted for use as a gatepost; height 1.4 meters and probably not ‘in situ’.
Stones A, D and E are intervisible in moorland with numerous gravel diggings. B and C are intervisible and stand in a field which has been cleaned of stones and is now pasture. Only A and D align with Spinster’s Rock. While no obvious purpose can be assigned to these stones, save rubbing posts or boundary marks, it seems possible that Handsford Worth’s denunciation of the supposed complex is correct.
(Visited 31/7/1974) Stones B, C, D and E were located and surveyed, the grid reference of E being amended to SX69589088. Stone A has been removed and is probably the massive slab (3.0 meters long and 1.4 meters wide) lying at SX69869082. Otherwise, no change.


Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 179 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

Supposed stone circles, one at SX69909080, diameter 40 meters, and at SX69959080, diameter 33 meters, and at SX70009055, diameter 14 meters. Now destroyed, if they ever existed.


Lawson, M. D., 1982, Spinster's Rock and its prehistoric context (Undergraduate Dissertation). SDV238218.

Another pillar, of height 0.9 meters, was discovered in the garden of Shilstone House during the 1970s. The occupants dug it up and placed it where they thought it should stand. Overall these pillars do not appear to form a prehistoric alignment, although it is possible that they are re-used prehistoric uprights.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Not visible on 1946 Royal Air Force aerial photographs.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Not visible on 1946 Royal Air Force aerial photographs.


Gerrard, S., 2000-2002, Monument Protection Programme Alternative Action Report (Report - non-specific). SDV145710.

Considered for Scheduling under Monument Protection Programme but no trace found.

Sources / Further Reading

  • Report - non-specific: Gerrard, S.. 2000-2002. Monument Protection Programme Alternative Action Report. English Heritage. Unknown.
  • Article in Serial: Amery, P. F. S.. 1900 - 1901. A Tour across Dartmoor into North Devon by the Rev. John Swete 1789. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 1. Unknown. 89.
  • Article in Serial: Ormerod, G. W.. 1872. Unknown. Archaeological Journal. 29. Unknown. 345-350.
  • Article in Serial: Victoria County History. 1906. The Victoria History of the County of Devon. Victoria History of the County of Devon. 1. Unknown.
  • Article in Serial: Worth, R. N.. 1892. The Stone Rows of Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 24. Digital. 389.
  • Monograph: Polwhele, R.. 1793 - 1806. The History of Devonshire. The History of Devonshire. Unknown. 150-154.
  • Article in Serial: Tyler, F. C.. 1930. The stone remains in Drewsteignton. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 62. Unknown. 249-60.
  • Monograph: Rowe, S.. 1896. Perambulation of the Forest of Dartmoor. Perambulation of the Forest of Dartmoor. Unknown. 31, 40.
  • Article in Serial: Ormerod, G. W.. 1872. Notice of prehistoric remains formerly existing near Drewsteignton Cromlech. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 5. Unknown. 73.
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953-1974. SX69SE25. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
  • Monograph: Baring Gould, S.. 1900. A Book of Dartmoor. A Book of Dartmoor. Unknown. 162.
  • Undergraduate Dissertation: Lawson, M. D.. 1982. Spinster's Rock and its prehistoric context. University of Exeter Dissertation. A4 Bound.
  • Article in Serial: Tyler, F. C.. 1928-1929. Stone circles at Drewsteignton. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 15. Unknown. 124.
  • Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 179.
  • Article in Serial: Burnard, R.. 1906. Early Man. Victoria History of the County of Devon. 1. A4 Hardback. 348.
  • Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 629-630.
  • Interpretation: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
  • Article in Serial: Brailsford, J. W.. 1938. Bronze Age Stone Monuments of Dartmoor. Antiquity. 12. 455.

Associated Monuments

MDV8437Related to: Possible site of a stone circle near Spinsters Rock, Drewsteignton (Monument)
MDV8440Related to: Spinster's Rock, Drewsteignton (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV1694 - FLAKE (Mesolithic - 4001 BC to 8000 BC)

Associated Events

  • EDV4863 - Survey on possible stone circle site, Higher Shilstone Farm
  • EDV4864 - Excavation to the south-west of Higher Shilstone Farm

Date Last Edited:Nov 13 2015 9:33AM