From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Spinsters Rock

Dolmen - Tomb
50° 42′ 7.64″ N 3° 50′ 27.43″ W
Restored in 1862

  • History
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  • Gallery
Spinsters Rock is a Neolithic dolmen located on Shilstone Farm, west of the village Drewsteignton, Devon.

The dolmen consist of three granite supports rising to between 5 ft 7 in and 7 ft 7 in, surmounted by a capstone measuring 15 by10 ft. It collapsed in 1862 but was restored in the same year and no finds were recorded in the process. When first mapped by archaeologists Spinster's Rock was surrounded by a number of other stones arranged in circles and rows which may have been added after the dolmen was erected, but these have now disappeared.

There are 18th-century antiquarian reports of nearby stone circles and alignments although they are considered to be of dubious accuracy. There are some free-standing stones located nearby, although only two align with Spinsters' Rock.

The word dolmen is derived from the Celtic words daul, a table, and maen, a stone. Typically dolmens were covered with earth or smaller stones to form a barrow which in this case has been eroded, by humans and weather, leaving only the stones of the burial mound intact.

This whole area was formerly rich in prehistoric remains, sadly now gone except for this burial chamber standing lonely in a farmers field and commemorated in the name of the village, Drewsteignton, meaning farm at the Druid's stones.

According to legend the stones were erected by three spinsters or witches before breakfast one morning.