The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Rawthey Bridge

Stone Circle (Destroyed)

<b>Rawthey Bridge</b>Posted by fitzcoraldoImage © fitzcoraldo
Nearest Town:Kendal (20km WSW)
OS Ref (GB):   SD714977 / Sheet: 98
Latitude:54° 22' 25.5" N
Longitude:   2° 26' 25.11" W

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<b>Rawthey Bridge</b>Posted by fitzcoraldo


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In my mind I was already composing my letter to John Waterhouse, Aubrey Burl and the Cumberland and Westmorland Archaeological Society. The subject of letter? How I had rediscovered the lost stone circle of Rawthey Bridge.
The plan
Drive to Rawthey bridge
Search the Hillside
Find, describe and photograph the circle.

I arrived at the bridge mid afternoon on the eve of the summer solstice. There is a good parking spot a few yards south of the bridge and a gated footpath on the opposite side of the road.
I had two grid references for the circle, one placed the site on the hillside close to the bridge, and the second reference placed the circle on the top of the nearby hill called Bluecaster.
Unusually for me I decided to use a sort of semi-methodological approach to my search for any trace of the circle. Starting at the bridge I followed the footpath for about a mile, checking out any possible sites either side of the path. I then turned back on myself and headed north east and uphill to the top of Bluecaster and then finally back down to the bridge. This triangular search would cover the two grid refs I had for the site and much more besides.
Unfortunately I didn't find any trace of the circle. The hillside shows plenty of evidence of human activities mainly in the form of trackways and drilled rocks so fairly safe to say that good amounts of stone have been removed from this hillside to be used for building, road mending and also to feed the many lime kilns that operated in this area from Roman times to the eighteenth century.
So that was that, no circle, no glory but not a wasted day. The views of both the Howgill Fells and the limestone scars around Wild Boar Fell are spectacular.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
3rd July 2007ce


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"In the high street, leading from Kirkby Stephen to Sedbergh, near Rathey Bridge, is a circle of large stones, supposed to be a monument of druid worship."

From: The History and Antiquities of Westmorland and Cumberland
by Joseph Nicholson and Richard Burn
Published 1777
Available via Google Books

In this parish we have a Stone Circle near Rawthey Bridge.

From: 'Parishes (East Ward): St Oswald, Ravenstonedale', The Later Records relating to North Westmorland: or the Barony of Appleby (1932), pp. 214-26. URL:

The ancient Briton, who were here, have left behind them but few traces of their occupations, but in the Fell End Angle, the south-eastern quarter of the parish near Rawthey Bridge, there are megalithic remains of a stone circle.

From: A Tour In Westmorland by Sir Clement Jones, published 1948

Rawthey Bridge
Little is known about this site. Nicholson and Burn place it by the road from Kirkby Stephen to Sedbergh near Rawthey bridge, i.e. just on the edge of the Howgill Fells. They describe it simply as a circle of large stones, supposed to be a monument of Druid worship.

The Stone Circles of Cumbria
John Waterhouse
Pub. Phillimore &Co.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
7th June 2007ce
Edited 3rd July 2007ce