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

Coate Stone Circle

Stone Circle


The remaining stones of this circle, which have hitherto escaped the notice of archreologists, lie immediately in front of Day House Farm, about a quarter of a mile from the village of Coate and two miles from Swindon.

They are now not at all conspicuous, as they are all lying prostrate, and at first sight they appear quite small, but on investigation with an iron bar I found that they are much larger than they appear to be, the greater portion of them being now buried under the turf, for though none of them stand more than about 18in. out of the ground, and several of them only just show above tho surface, yet stone No. 6 on the plan I found to be some 9ft. 6in. long; Nos. 3 and 5 are over 6ft.; and No. 1 is about 5ft. in length.

Stone No. 1, which lies beside the wall of the cow-shed on the western side of the road, seems to be still unbroken, though prostrate and almost buried, as are also the next three stones - 2, 3, and 4 which lie in the grass to the east of the roadway. The distance (11 ft.) between 3 and 4, I take to have been the original distance between the stones all round when the circle was complete — In which case the number of stones would have been about thirty. The circle, however, seems to have been irregular in shape, and varies in its diameter from north to south, and from east to west. As will be seen from the plan, the cow-yards and rick-yards occupy a considerable part of the site of the western side of the circle, and here only one stone is visible — No. 9, in the rick-yard—and that has been mutilated. Doubtless the others, being here more in the way, have been broken up and removed. There is a patch of old pavement of large sarsen stones and several big fragments are lying about loose. The two stones 7 and 8, in front of the house, are the smallest of all, and between-these and 6 there is a wide gap which, after hours of probing with an iron bar, I have hitherto failed to fill up. I have, however, proved that other stones once existed besides those now visible, by digging into the depression between Nos. 4
and 5, and finding in it a piece of burnt sarsen and a quantity of white ashes—probably of straw—clearly pointing to the fact that a stone standing here has been broken up.

The distances between the stones are:— from 1 to 2, 75ft.; from 2 to 3, 58ft. ; from 3 to 4, 11ft. ; from 4 :o 5, 68ft.; from 5 to 6, 30ft.; from 7 to 8, 17ft.; from 8 to 9, 67ft.; and from 9 to 1, 70ft.

In the large grass field to the south west of the farm-house, which borders on the reservoir, at a distance of 18 chains from the circle already described are the three sarsen stones standing by themselves in the middle of the field, of which a plan is given. Of these the one to the eastward is a very large stone lying on its side, some 3ft. high and 7ft. long above ground. The other two are comparatively small stones, but have evidently been broken up. The distance between the stones is in each case 59ft, measuring from the outside of the stones. These stones, as they stand, have much the appearance of having formed part of a circle, but there is no sign of any other stones, or of depressions in the turf from which other stones may have been removed.

Still, an old man informs me that he remembers many large stones in this field being broken up in his early life, and he rather thinks that they stood in a circle. His evidence, however, is not sufficiently strong to build upon.

Near the stones I have found several worked flints and pottery of rude type.

By the side of the road which runs in front of Day House Farm and passes through the circle first mentioned are five stones which may possibly have formed part of an avenue. They lie in a line to the north of the circle, which, if continued, would cut through the circle and through the three stones beyond it, already described. Several of these are stones of considerable size, though only just their upper surface is now visible as they lie beside the road.

The first of these stones is near the main Swindon Road, on the east side of the Day House Road. The other four lie on the opposite side of the road, or in the ditch. The distance between the first and second is 400ft.; between the second and third, 191ft.; between the third and fourth, 65ft.; and the same distance between the fouth and fifth. I cannot find any stone nearer to the circle than this last.

It has been suggested that these stones are lying beside the road because they have been removed from the cultivated fields—
but a stone 6ft. long is such an awkward thing to move that if the only object was to get rid of them they would have been broken up rather than drawn to the roadside. The equal distances, too, between the third and fourth, and fourth and fifth stones, seem to point to their having been intentionally placed there.

At the end of the reservoir, as you approach it from Broome farm, are a number of large sarsens, partly under water when the reservoir is full, some on one side of the road and some on the other. An irregular line of these seems to follow the western shore of the reservoir for some distance, but it is impossible to make out any plan, and probably they are really nothing but a natural drift of sarsens.

At Broome Farm, however, which is close by, is a field which still retains the name of Longstone Field. Here were many standing stones, until they were broken up and carried off to Cricklade. Stukeley mentions them thus:—" Longstones at Broome, near Swindon, Wilts, is a great high stone and a little way off many lesser ones in a row."

At Hodson, about one and a half miles from Day House Farm, I have noticed a number of sarsens, which may or may not have
formed part of a circle, and from them a line of stones seems to lead in the direction of Coate.

In conclusion, I must express my thanks to Mr. W. Handy, the tenant of Day House Farm, for the kind way in which he has
allowed me to explore his fields.

Notes on an undescribed Stone Circle at Coate, near Swindon.
By A. D. PASSMORE. - W.A.M. No. 27 pages 171 to 174
Chance Posted by Chance
28th February 2011ce

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