Craddock Moor Stone Circle

Craddock Moor stone circle

Craddock Moor stone circle
St Cleer
Caradon
NGR: SX 24871 71827

About a kilometre to the west-north-west of The Hurlers lie the remains of a stone circle. Sited in an area of gently sloping rough moorland pasture, the Craddock Moor stone circle consists of sixteen or seventeen stones, all fallen and some broken. A detailed site survey suggests that there may originally have been 26 or 27 uprights, but as a result of intensive peat working and quarrying in the vicinity, it is not now possible to be certain about the original design and layout of the site. The ‘architecture’ of the Craddock Moor circle resembles that of Leskernick in that the stones appear to be graded in size, with the tallest facing towards a large settlement to the NNW.

Also in common with the Leskernick area, there seems to have been a distinction between areas used for settlement and agricultural purposes and areas reserved for sacred or ceremonial use. The area surrounding the stone circle is densely populated with burial monuments (including the Rillaton Barrow), standing stones, stone rows and the three circles of the Hurlers. One factor in the design of this Bronze Age ritual landscape may be the creation or marking of alignments. Here an alignment seems to start 900 metres to the north-west at the end of the Craddock Moor stone row, passing through a short pairing of parallel banks, through the Craddock Moor circle, on towards the Hurlers, and then beyond towards a group of barrows on Caradon Hill. The Craddock Moor circle also incorporates an astronomical alignment – a sight-line towards Stowes Hill marks the midsummer sunrise, whilst Brown Willy marks sunset on the same day.

The ceremonies that took place among these sites are lost forever, but we can imagine that they might have provided a processional route through the landscape, each site indicating and leading on to the next. Although the circle itself is now difficult to find as the stones all lie on the ground and have become overgrown, it is still possible to follow in the footsteps of our Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestors and tread these ancient processional ways across the moor.

Dating the construction and development of prehistoric monuments in Cornwall is still problematical as few have been excavated in recent years. However, it would appear that whilst the ceremonial and burial sites are broadly contemporary, and their use continued over a period of several centuries, they predate the settlements and hut circles by perhaps a millennium.

Permanent settlement in this area may have been relatively short-lived, and have given way to a mainly seasonal occupation as the climate slowly deteriorated and people begun to settle the lowland valleys on a more permanent basis. The uplands may have provided vital areas of summer grazing in a pattern of farming known as transhumance. This became the traditional pattern of farming in the Cornish landscape for the succeeding two millennia.

Set on open common land a mile to the north-west of Minions, there is full access to and around the monument.

Sources

Barnatt, J, 1980. Lesser Known Stone Circles in Cornwall in Cornish Archaeology 19, pp.17-30.

Barnatt, J, 1982. Prehistoric Cornwall: The Ceremonial Monuments. Turnstone Press Limited. ISBN 0 85500 129 1

Tapper, B. and Herring, P, 2005. Caradon Hill Area Heritage Project, Cornwall – Historic Landscape Characterisation. Historic Environment Service, Cornwall County Council.