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

The Nine Stones of Winterbourne Abbas

Stone Circle


Details of The Nine Stones on Pastscape

(SY 61079043) The Nine Stones (NAT) Stone Circle (NR). (1)
The Nine Stones Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age (SY 61079043) stands immediately S of the Bridport road 850 yds W of the church in an enclosure just inside Nine Stone Wood. The site is level at 345 ft above OD on the S edge of a narrow valley floor. The subsoil is apparently river gravel with Upper Chalk adjacent to the S.
The stones, all sarsens, are arranged in a rough circle with internal diameters of about 27 1/2 ft (N to S) and 23 1/2 ft (W to E). Though they are irregularly spaced, a gap to the N is almost twice as wide as any other gap. Seven of the stones are small and low, from about 1 ft to 2 1/2 ft high. Two are more massive: (a) is 7 ft high and its elongated form recalls the 'A' stones in the Kennet Avenue near Avebury, Wilts; (b) a large slab, 6 ft high and 6 ft across at the base, is like the 'B' stones in the same Avenue (cf Antiquity X (1936), 420).
Aubrey recorded only nine stones, as did Hutchins in 1768; but Warne alleged traces of a tenth to the NE, presumably in the wide gap. Stukeley's drawing of 1723 shows the circle in the same state as at present and nothing could be seen of any additional stone in 1936. (S and C M Piggott, Antiquity XIII (1939), 146, with facsimile of Aubrey's MS notes as pl I; J Hutchins, History of Dorset 11, 196, and Gentleman's Magazine (1768) 112-3, letter signed J H; C Warne, Ancient Dorset (1872), 117-8; J Stukeley, Itinerarium Curiosum II (1742), tab 92, which has been wrongly identified as showing a site in Winterbourne Monkton, Wilts). The site is a guardianship monument of the Ministry of Public Building and Works and is No 149 on the OS Map of Neolithic Wessex. (2)
'The Nine Stones' (name on Ministry notice board) remain as described by RCHM. Re-surveyed at 1:2500 on M.S.D. (3)
A late Neolithic/Bronze Age stone circle. The stones are of sarsen or conglomerate and have been arranged in a rough circle. They are irregularly spaced, a gap to the north is almost twice as wide as any other gaps. Seven of the stones are small and low, two are larger. Traces of a tenth stone have been alleged, presumably in the wide gap. Scheduled. (1-3)
The Nine Stones is a late Neolithic or early Bronze Age stone circle. It is located immediately south of the A35 Bridport road, just outside the village of Winterbourne Abbas in an enclosure within Nine Stone Wood. This is situated in a valley bottom close to the South Winterbourne stream. The stones are of sarsen or conglomerate and have been arranged in a rough circle with maximum internal diameter of 8 metres. The circle was first recorded in the 18th century by J. Aubrey, W. Stukeley and W. Hutchins and has seen little change since. The stones measure between 1.5 metres to 0.5 metre in diameter and 1.5 metres to 0.45 metres in height. However all the stones are partially buried and their exact dimensions are not know. Two stones, situated within the northern and western areas of the monument, are notably larger than the rest. The Nine Stones are spaced at about one metre intervals however there is a gap of 3 metres on the northern side, which may be a possible entrance. It was alleged in 1872 by C. Warne that there was originally traces of a tenth stone, which may have filled this gap. However on W. Stukeley's drawing of 1723 the circle is in the same state as at present. The Nine Stones is one of only four stone circles known to survive within the area, and it's location in a valley bottom is unusual. (1-5)
'The 17th century antiquarian John Aubrey described another circle about half a mile to the west but this has since been destroyed, although a fallen 2 metre stone known as the Broad Stone lies semi-buried beside the road about a mile to the west.' (6) Five of the stones suffered damage from graffiti in the form of white paint in 2007. (7)
Chance Posted by Chance
27th March 2016ce

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