‘Stone Circle’: OS Grid Reference – SK 00 82
Archaeology & History
There appear to be no records of any prehistoric circle of any form in the area less than a mile northwest of Whaley Bridge, where the intriguing place-names of Ringstones Clough and Ringstone farm can still be found, nearly 750 years after first being mentioned in local history records. Described by place-name authority J.M. Dodgson (1970) to be simply a “ring of stones” or “stone ring,” little is said of the place in Aubrey Burl’s standard texts. Thankfully we are helped out by R.A. Barnett, who found a reference to the place in John Barnatt’s (1990) local survey, where he gave us a bit of local lore:
“A local man working at the farm said there was a stone circle under the concrete floor of the buildings and that he had seen a photograph showing men sitting on the stones…….. It is not known how much credence to place on this account, it may well be apocryphal.”
Nobody as yet has located this alleged photo. It would be great if anyone could find it!
The site was first mentioned as early as 1285 AD in records of the Palatinate of Chester, as both ‘Ryngstones’ and ‘Ryngstanes’; then later in the Minister’s Accounts of 1550 as the name we know today. But another document found in the Public Records Office dated 1357 AD describes simply le Rynge, or “the ring” itself perhaps. It is described consistently as the standard place-name in numerous other documents from thereon. Was this a cairn circle? A stone circle? A circular enclosure? And where exactly was it? What monument gave this area of land its name?
Good looking contenders for the position of the circle include both Brownough Hill and Black Hill; and what is the story behind the Dipping Stone, above the original source of Ringstone Clough?
- Barnatt, John, The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, Sheffield Archaeological Monographs 1990.
- Dodgson, J.M., The Place-Names of Cheshire – volume 1, Cambridge University Press 1970.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian