Easy to find when approached from Hownam. The path is decent, but rough in places. It's sheep farming country, so the stones aren't overgrown.
I Counted 23, (5 hidden?) spread over a slight rise, half and half. There aren't any other field boundaries in the vicinity that have left such stones as their evidence. Nor could I see any trace of an embankment having ever been over them, though the undulating terrain may hide this. It would make sense to put a boundary between the hillfort at Hownam rings, and The Street. But there are a couple of far more suitable rises running parallel with the Street that would seem to have made more sense as places to put a boundary structure.
They're not in as straight line as the Merrivale rows,which are all I have to compare them with. So I wouldn't offer opinion on any deliberate alignment (e.g.Astral bodies, parts of surrounding landscape etc). You can over to the other side of kalewater, where the Five Stanes circle is, but the circle is obscured by a slight rise.
Hownam Rings is clearly visible as hut circles and earthworks. And the outer ring of earthworks has a few stones around it. Almost as if there was something surrounding the Rings that wasn't earthwork. Just to highlight the complex history of the area, one small (1m)leaning orthostat to the south of the rings has a cup-mark on the outer face. This could be somewhere that has been reused a few times for different purposes. The one thing that cannot be overlooked is the south side of Hownam Law. Before the hillfort was made, Hownam Law would have been very conspicuous from the Rings. Add to this the mound and standing stone at Horseshoe wood, and it's clearly a complex pattern of sites, possibly covering thousands of years.
According to local Tales, the Shearers are associated with a tale of Roman military misfortune.
A general recorded in his journals that he was having not recurrent problems with deserters. Many of the Levied troops from far flung roman provinces would regularly go AWOL. These troops were usually rounded up and punished. However, one group is recorded as having never been found, bar one individual. The chap was incapable of relating the whereabouts of his comrades however, as he had apparently lost his sanity at some point during his unsanctioned holiday. It was "As though he had gazed into the face of Orcus(the Roman god of death and the underworld, similar to Hades in Greek mythology), and his mind struck asunder by the horrors that he saw."
This is more juicy than the other account for the name, which is that the stones are crop shearers who were petrified for working on the Sabbath. At least they weren't dancing.
Local information courtesy of Kelspook. (Thanks dude!)
28 stones, in an east-west alignment.
Known locally as the eleven shearers, possibly because not all of the stones are high enough to be visible.
RACHMS alleges it may be simply the remains of a field boundary.
An entry from Ancient Stones, an online database that covers most of the standing stones, stone circles and other stones found in South East Scotland. Each entry includes details, directions, photograph, folklore, parking and field notes on each location.