Ancient Stones
A Guide to Standing Stones & Stone Circles in the South of Scotland.

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040 The Shearers, The Street, Hownam.

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The Shearers can be found some 80m south east of Hownam Rings and comprises line of 28 stones extends from west to east across the plateau for a distance of over 100m. Eleven of the stones are only exposed at turf level but the other seventeen are upright blocks, roughly squared off and varying in height from 0.15 to 0.75m. These stones are most likely to be the grounders of an ancient field dyke, probably erected at some time during the occupation of Hownam Rings.

From the village of Hownam, walk to the south end of the village and before crossing the bridge, follow a track heading uphill and to the right. Continue on this track past Horseshoe Wood, past the standing stone to the right. Cross the stone dyke at the gate and head for Hownam Rings. The Shearers are quite noticeable on route.

In street in Hownam village.

One story relates the tale of eleven local shearers who, in defiance of the church who forbid working on the Holy Sabbath, carried out their trade of sheep shearing and were turned to stone as a result. The stones may also be known locally as the Shearers and the Bandster. However, this name has also been associated with Five Stanes Stone Circle, some 4 miles away as the crow flies.

The close proximity of The Shearers to the fort and settlement of Hownam Rings, does suggest some form of connection and the idea that the stones were the grounders for an ancient field dyke is plausible. Other fragmentary earthworks in the vicinity also add weight to the theory. However, to my mind The Shearers seem to stand separately and isolated from these other earthworks and run near to east - west, possibly suggesting some connection with the rise and set of the sun, although this is by no means a certainty. The 1863 Edition of the 1" Ordnance Survey map records the site as "Eleven Shearers, Druidical Circle, supposed".

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Quick Info
Type: Stone Setting
Nearest Town: Jedburgh
Nearest Village: Hownam
Landranger Sheet 80
O.S. Outdoor Leisure 16
Grid Reference: NT 7910 1925
GPS Reference: SHEAR

Symbols Key | Stone Types

Other Sites Nearby
039 Five Stones, Dere Street, Hownam.
041 Standing Stone, Horseshoe Wood, Hownam.


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