Rawthey Bridge, Fell End, Ravenstonedale, Cumbria

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SD 714 978

Archaeology & History

This is yet another stone circle that’s been destroyed. It seems to have been described first by Nicolson & Burn (1777) — as “a circle of large stones, supposed to be a monument of druid worship” — but a century later when Reverend Nicholls (1877) came to describe it, he was talking of it in the past tense, saying:

“Fifty years ago there was a circle of stones on the high road leading from Kirkby Stephen to Sedbergh, near Rawthey Bridge, supposed to be a monument of Druid worship.  These stones, I have been informed by Mr. William Alderson of Brigg, were blocks of limestone, about three feet high, and were inconsiderably removed for the purpose of helping to build the abutment on the Ravenstonedale side of the present bridge which spans the Rawthey, and bears (the) date 1822.  The holes in which the stones stood are, however, yet visible, although overgrown with grass.  Collectively they form a circle.”

One writer later (1967) told that the site “seems to have stood on the moor to the left of the road opposite the confluence of the Sally Beck with the Rawthey.”  As far as I’m aware, little more is known of the site. Omitted from Burl’s magnum opus, it was included in Waterhouse’s (1985) fine survey of Cumbrian megaliths, but with no further details.  But another Victorian writer (Thompson 1892) thought it more likely that the ‘circle’ here was, in fact, more likely a barrow or grave-mound.  Sadly, we’ll probably never know…

References:

  1. Anon., Sedbergh, Garsdale and Dent, Reeds: Penrith 1967.
  2. Nicholls, Rev. W., The History and Traditions of Ravenstonedale, John Heywood: Manchester 1877.
  3. Nicolson, J. & Burn, R., The History and Antiquities of the Counties of Westmorland and Cumberland, London 1777.
  4. Thompson, Rev. W., Sedbergh, Garsdale and Dent, Richard Jackson: Leeds 1892.
  5. Waterhouse, John, The Stone Circles of Cumbria, Phillimore: Chichester 1985.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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About megalithix

Occultist, prehistorian and independent archaeological researcher, specializing in prehistoric rock art, Neolithic, Bronze Age & Iron Age sites, and the animistic cosmologies of pre-Christian & traditional cultures.
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