The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

The Hellstone

Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech


Another visitor unimpressed with the refurbishment writes to Notes and Queries, June 11 1870.
During a recent visit to the south of Dorsetshire, I made arrangements for a trip to the Hellstone[...] Gathering my ideas of its appearance principally from the little vignette on Mr. C. Warne's Map of Ancient Dorsetshire, I naturally expected to see a somewhat dilapidated and venerable structure. Imagine my surprise then, on attaining the top of the hill, to find quite a different object from that engraved on the map. Instead of the slanting capstone, with the supporters lying here and there, all is now changed: its present appearance reminding me very strongly of a sepulchral chamber figured on p. 79 of Worsaae's Primeval Antiquities of Denmark.

The huge capstone is now placed over nine supporting stones, arranged on an oval plan, so as to leave an entrance on the south-east. Who placed all these supporters upright, I could not ascertain. In my humble opinion this kind of restoration should never be encouraged, if we wish our antiquities to be respected: for who will look on an ancient structure, which has been patched up in the nineteenth century, with the same degree of veneration as if it had remained in the hoary condition handed down to us through successive ages ?

The Hellstone, I imagine, has not been restored for any long period. I infer this from- information received from a little shepherd boy, who, although he told me he had been but a short time in the neighbourhood, said he remembered when the stones were askew and fallen, pointing out to me some of their positions. I could only positively identify one of the supporters with those in the view given by Mr. Warne on his map. This stone, the supporter on the south-west, has not been shifted from its former position. Some of the other stones may he guessed at, but they have all been moved more or less.[..]

E. H. W. Dunkin.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
5th September 2006ce
Edited 5th September 2006ce

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