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The Stripple Stones sit on private land on the south slope of Hawks Tor in Bodmin Moor, north of the A30. There is no public right of way to the stones. The monument itself consists of a stone circle approximately 47 yards in diameter (the second largest in Cornwall), with a fallen central stone. The whole is enclosed within a henge monument some 58 yards wide, making the monument somewhat unique in Cornwall – it is the only circle in the county built within a henge.
The henge itself has been severely mutilated by cattle, particularly in the north. There is an entrance to the SW, in line with the nearby Trippet Stones circle. A modern field boundary dissects the ditch and bank to the NE. The central stone is 12 feet long by 5 feet at the widest point, but has been split in three places in the past – the drilling marks are quite evident. Only four stones remain standing within the circle, with eleven others fallen. William Lukis (1885) suggested that with an average spacing of 12 feet (3.7 m), there would have been as many as thirty seven original stones, whilst Aubrey Burl (2005) has suggested a possible total of only twenty eight stones.
A 1905 excavation by H. St. George Gray found that most of the large stones were only set in shallow holes around four feet deep, presumably leading to their current state – especially as grazing cattle use the standing pillars as rubbing posts, evidence of which is quite clear here in the worn ground around their base. Four postholes were found surrounding the central stone which was offset fourteen feet from the centre of the circle.
Burl has speculated that when set upright and looking towards 3 bulges that exist in the outer henge, the Mayday sunset, the Equinox sunrise and the major Northern moonrise would all have been visible, supporting the idea that such stone circles had astronomical and calendrical uses.
As for the name, Burl (in A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany) states that the origin is unknown, but is suggestive of ‘brazen behaviour and subsequent ossification’ – a common theme as we’ve seen with other circles in the county.