This government has a lot to answer for. Flying in the face of strong local feeling and the decision made last year by Swindon Borough Council to finally reject the development at the land surrounding Coate Water Country Park (with all its archaeological and historical associations)... continues...
Was out walking locally today down Dayhouse Lane which runs alongside Coate Country Park; also the site of what remains of the Coate stone circle. Dayhouse Lane is a little bit of rural history as, apart from the stone circle, it is also often mentioned by writer Richard Jefferies... continues...
On the way to Peterborough and Flag Fen I took the opportunity to start our little holiday with a quick ‘look see’ at the Coate stone circle. Access is easy enough as a minor road runs directly past/through the circle.
As has been previously said, 5 stumps of stones are easily visible from the road (as long as the grass is kept short) and I settled for a view from the road side. I saw little benefit in jumping over the rusty barbed wire for a closer look.
What a shame this circle has not survived intact.
Although I doubt the people living in the posh houses opposite would welcome the increased number of visitors that would attract!
Worth a quick detour when travelling along this stretch of the M4.
"Coate boasts a host of Bronze Age, Romano-British and Medieval history that spans a period of up to about 3000 years. The oldest known ancient monuments at Coate are the Neolithic Stone Circle and the Bronze age burial mound along Day House Lane. However, no less than six Stone Circles have been recorded in the Coate area linked up, in part, by avenues of large Sarsen stones. The remains of one of the stone circles probably still lies at the bottom of the lake at Coate Water whilst other ancient finds are dotted around the area that include evidence of Medieval settlements."
I didn't check for alignments when I was there, but I suspect there may be a possibility of a line up with a 'sleeping figure' in the hill to the south. I took a picture at the time, I'll have to dig it out and check.
Just thought of a little bit of info that might go down well with the subject of the Coate Stones.
Not very far away from this site is a rather "exclusive" housing area near the golf course,which has large standing stones on the end of some of the closes as "punctuation points". I'm not sure if they are all "real" standing stones as one of them looks like its made of a dodgy sandstone/cement mixture and it has that strange golden colour.
Might be worth investigating further to see if they are related in any way.
This little visited site is situated on the outskirts of Swindon. It is a runied stone circle which now consists of an arc of 5 stones. Dayhouse Lane bisects the intact remains of the circle and the vansihed half.
All five stones have fallen but each is significantly bigger than those of the nearby Winterbourne Basset circle.
This site was discussed on the Forum in summer 2002. Liddington Castle and the Ridgeway are clearly visible from here. It is on a direct aligment with Barbury Castle and Avebury to the south.
A stone circle located immediately north east of Day House, Coate. Visible remains of the stone circle are represented by five recumbent sarsens arranged in an approximate semi-circle in the field to the east of Day House Lane. The the west of Day House Lane a further four stones have been previously recorded. These suggest that the overall diameter on the stone circle is approximately 92 metres. Scheduled.
(SU 18168240) Stone Circle (LB)
(SU 18168197) Stones (TI) (1)
An irregular circle of 9 recumbent stones was found by A.D. Passmore in front of Day House Farm, Coate. The stones were almost completely buried but when excavated were found to be between 5ft. and 9ft. long.
Alongside Day House Lane, to the N. of the circle, are five stones which may have formed part of an avenue.
To the SW of the farmhouse are three sarsens which may have been part of a stone circle. (2)
Of the nine stones in the circle described by Passmore only five can still be seen. Surveyed at 1:2,500. None of the line of stones to the north of the circle can be seen. The three sarsens S.W. of the farmhouse have been destroyed by explosives, though some of the pieces remain. A further line of stones extended from SU 16098382 to SU 16178395(a). These were mentioned by Passmore but have since been removed. Local tradition says that the stones marked the site of a trackway. (3)
Additional reference. (4)
( 1) Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) 6" Provisional 1960
( 2) The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine 27, 1893-4 Page(s)171-4
( 3a) Annotated Record Map 25"
( 3b) Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
( 3) Field Investigators Comments 29/08/1968
( 4) Aubrey Burl 1976 The stone circles of the British Isles Page(s)348
( 5) Scheduled Monument Notification 08/12/1997
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
To add to Redbrickdream's miscellaneous; And also taken from Burl. He states that there were three large stones circles in close proximity to each other.
1) Burderop Wood - Fir Clump concentric stone circle(completely destroyed by construction of M4) diameter given by Burl about a 107 metres across- inner about 86 x 73 m, which makes it larger than Coate circle
2) Coate circles diameter as mentioned is 100 x 95 m, measurement by Passmore.
3) Broome, completely gone and mentioned by Stukeley with a probable avenue as well.
Which brings to mind that Avebury also has three stone circles the two inner circles about the same size as Coate. The other defining factor of the Coate group is their proximity to water, not to the man-made reservoir/lake of today but to the small rivers/brooks that must have flowed in this area.
The following extract comes from Aubrey Burl's Prehistoric Avebury (1979). Yale University Press, New Haven. p 237. [My comments in parentheses].
Much farther away, nine miles to the north of Avebury are the fallen pillars of the Coate Circle, prostrate and three-quarters covered in turf but when A.D. Passmore probed the ground [research published in 1894] he found several were up to three metres long. Like Langdean [also known as Little Avebury] there was the suggestion of an avenue leading to the ring from the north [the course of the existing DayHouse Lane, past the Richard Jefferies Museum back towards Swindon]. It has been thought that Richard Jefferies first recognised the remains of this ring and, undoubtedly, he had an affinity with the people who had moulded the ancient landscape before him. [...]
In the case of Coate, however it was John Aubrey, two hundred years before Jefferies who wrote that "at Broome near Swindon in Wiltshire", hardly a mile from Coate, "in the middle of a pasture ground called Long-stone is a great Stone ten foot high (or better) standing upright", the ruin of a circle with a row of stones " in a right line" leading to it.
Blog updates on the campaign to protect the rural land adjacent to Coate Water Country Park. This land not only has a small prehistoric stone circle on it but also historic and literary associations with Richard Jefferies who set many of his books against this rural backdrop.