Ringstone Hill, Brierley, South Yorkshire

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SE 426 099

Archaeology & History

On the southern outskirts of Brierley and the northeastern edge of Grimethorpe is the curiously-named site of Ringstone Hill.  I say “curiously,” as there are no physical remnants of anything which would presently tell us of there ever being such a ring of stones here — well, nothing authentic anyway!  Some doods stuck a modern ring of stones here, but it’s pretty obviously a recent construction (apparently 1990-ish); but sometime in the not-too-distant past another circle, very probably prehistoric, could be found here…

First mentioned in 1591, the original stone circle which gave this place its name has seemingly gone; but the hill which preserves its name is a prominent place in the landscape, and this was very probably of some relevance to the builders.  On the eastern side of the hill were two large oak trees known locally as Adam & Eve, or the Well-Bred Oaks: the first name implying a creation-myth story which may have related to the ring of stones.  It also stands at the edge of the old boundary line along which, somewhere, was another tree called the Gospel Thorn, “where the gospel was read when beating the bounds.” (A.H. Smith 1961: 1:269)

This was a theme explored and developed in Mr Gomme’s (1880) old work on ancient meeting, or moot spots.  He told:

“Ringston Hill, an eminence partly natural and partly artificial, is near a point at which meet the three wapentakes (district boundaries, PB) of Strafford, Stancross and Osgodcross.  This mound appears to be connected in some manner with the early political state of this district.  It was a place of rendezvous in the time of the Civil War; for in the accounts of the township of Sheffield in 1645 occurs this entry: ‘In money, coats and the charging of a guard which went to Ringston Hill with five men that were pressed, £4, 13s, 3d.’ (Hunter’s South Yorkshire ii, 407)”

References:

  1. Gomme, G.L., Primitive Folk-Moots, Sampson Low: London 1880.
  2. Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire – volume 1, Cambridge University Press 1961.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Ringstone Hill

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Ringstone Hill 53.585288, -1.358540 Ringstone Hill

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