Monument details

HER Number:154
Type of record:Archaeology
Name:The Bridestones Neolithic chambered long cairn


The Bridestones is the only tomb in Cheshire known to date from the Neolithic. It is an east-west aligned long cairn which probably dates from around 3500 to 2400 bc. It is located on the western flank of Cloud Hill and has with extensive views across the Cheshire plain to the west.

Antiquarian accounts from the Eighteenth and nineteenth century indicate that the Bridestones today are but the fragments of a once far more extensive monument, with the possibility of two smaller prehistoric tombs nearby. The Bridestones once comprised a chamber made up of large stones (megaliths) divided into two parts by a slab which once had a circular port hole in it c.0.5m in diameter. The entrance was flanked by two large upright free- standing stones. This chamber, covered by large unhewn slabs of stone, was set on the western side of a semi-circular courtyard, partly paved and defined by large upright stones. The whole seems to have been covered by a cairn made of smaller stones, most of which was removed in the mid-eighteenth century to be used in the construction of Leek-Congleton turnpike (Dial Lane) to the south. In all, the monument may have been around 110m long and 11m wide.

Further damage occurred in the nineteenth century when a fire lit in the chamber split one of the stones, the port hole stone was broken and one of the upright stones was toppled in a demonstration on the use of explosives. The chamber which had bee partly filled with debris from an old cottage.

The site was partially excavated and restored by the Department of Geography of Manchester University in 1936-7. The excavations revealed that the forecourt was roughly cobbled and finds of a flint blade and a scraper were recovered from a layer of charcoal. A number of fallen stones and stones removed to Victoria Park, Tunstall, Stoke on Trent were re-erected and the broken half of the port hole replaced.

Visible today is a chambered tomb measuring 6m x 2.7m made of large stone slabs set on edge and divided into two by a now broken port hole stone. South of the chamber's entrance is a portal stone standing 3m high while north of the entrance is a re-positioned portal stone 1.2m high. To the east of the chamber are the three surviving stones of the forecourt.


Monument Types

  • CHAMBERED LONG CAIRN (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1011115: The Bridestones Neolithic Chambered Long Cairn.; SHINE (Yes): Earthworks & Structural Remains of The Bridestones Neolithic Chambered Long Cairn

Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West & Chester Council - Working in Partnership
Heritage Lottery Fund