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MITCHELLS FOLD STONE CIRCLE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  MADGES PINFOLD, MEDJICES FOLD
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An Early Bronze Age (circa 2000 BC) stone circle situated in a high saddle between Stapeley Hill to the north and Corndon Hill to the south. It comprises 15 stones arranged to form a rough circle with dimensions of 30 metres northwest/southeast by 27 metres northeast/southwest. One side is obviously flattened, probably deliberately, as this feature is common in other stone circles. The dolerite stones are believed to have been brought from Stapeley Hill to the northwest and are of a uniform geology. The majority protrude through the turf to an average height of 0.4 metres; two stones lie recumbent while three stones are appreciably taller than the rest standing to heights of 0.9 metres, 1.4 metres and 1.7 metres. The upstanding remains of this stone circle were mapped from aerial photographs. The original central stone is now hidden below ground. An outlying stone standing 0.7 metres high on a small prominence lies to the southeast. Various banks and depressions are also visible within and outside the circle. There is also evidence for a later field system, probably of early medieval date, in the form of ridge and furrow.

Folklore tells of a magic cow that provided milk for all, until one day a witch drained her dry. The cow vanished forthwith, and according to the legend, the witch was turned into the central stone and the circle erected to keep her in.

The stones are likely to have been erected by farming community for a ritual or religious purpose. They are frequently associated with burial sites, and the remains of a cairn (burial mound) lie immediately to the southeast. Two other stone circles are nearby at Hoarstones and Whetstones, and a prehistoric axe making centre operated at Cwm Mawr. Stone axe hammers were made there and have been found as far away as Land's End, Cornwall. The circle is now in the care of English Heritage as one of fewer than 10 such monuments nationwide.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the English Heritage website.