This single stone is visible from the Dorchester to Broadmayne road. It is however on private farm land along with the other stones that once may have formed a circle here. There are signs up here threatening legal action against trespassers, but apparently the people who live on the site will allow people on the place by prior arrangement.
(SY 72338706) Stone Circle (NR) (remains of) (NAT) (1) The Little Mayne stone circle is marked now only by a few scattered sarsens. Roger Gale, who visited the site in 1728 records "a circle of stone lately broke to pieces by the owner
of the land", and "two avenues of pitcht Stones leading up to it, one from the south, the other from the east". John Sydenham visited Little Mayne in 1847, and although his description of outer circles and avenues seems fanciful, it is
difficult to discount his record of "a complete but small circle.... composed of ten or eleven stones... about thirty feet in diameter". Warne writes that by 1868 all had been destroyed. (2)
About fifty exposed sarsen stones lie prostrate in the area of Little Mayne Farm. It is not possible to determine if any are in situ, and no pattern of circles or avenues can be traced. Earthworks to the west and north-east of the farmhouse are probably part of the manorial establishment. (See plan, and SY 78 NW 25). (3)
The sarsens scattered around Little Mayne Farm are a natural phenomenon and form no coherent plan, despite alleged arrangements in one or more circles or avenues (one of which is certainly a Medieval road). Most have been moved. (4)
This sounds very peculiar - in fact it gets a bit surreal:
More than a century and a-half ago, there was another circle of stones about two miles north west of Pokeswell, at Little Mayne, but it is now in complete ruin, the stones having been again broken and displaced of late years. According to an account in Roger Gale's MSS., the stones of this circle were first disarranged about 1710. Hutchins quotes him thus:
About a mile south-east of Dorchester at Priors Maen, was a circle of stones lately broke to pieces by the owner of the ground called Talbot. The stones were very large and rude. I saw the remains of one that had been hollowed through the middle: the tube was about eighteen inches diameter, and had been about six feet deep, as I was told by Mr. Conyers Place who saw it entire. Before it stood, as he assured me, two small images about three feet high, resembling children in swaddling clothes, and of rude work. There were two avenues pitched of stones leading to it, one fromt he south, the other from the east, as I could perceive from their remains, like those at Abury.
He then goes on to explain why there is sufficient evidence that the [non existent] Priors Maen is actually Little Mayne, as the name of the landlord matches up.
From E Dunkin's 'Some Account of the Megalithic Remains in South Dorset' in 'Reliquary', January 1871.