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Men Amber

Natural Rock Feature


Speed describes this monument in the following manner: "But neere Pensans and unto Mounts Bay, a farre more strange Rocke standeth, namely, Main-Amber, which lieth mounted upon others of a meaner size, with so equal a counterpoise, that a man may move it with the point of his finger, but no strength remove it out of his place."

(I assume 'Speed' is John Speed, the cartographer ((1552-1629) but I could be completely wrong). This from 'An Historical Survey of the County of Cornwall'
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th December 2007ce
Edited 18th November 2012ce

Comments (2)

Cheers for the folklore there, Rhiannon...wonder which ceremony or 'time of year' as so mentioned? Certainly implies ritual folk memory in an area (Carnmenellis) which is still relatively under-visited and where the past weighs extremely heavy...
chris s Posted by chris s
7th December 2007ce
I wrote this as part of an article fro White Dragon magazine in early 2003

Much closer to my home is Men Amber at SW 6501 3225. This was a very sensitive logan rock, or rocking stone. It is on a high ridge by a Monterey Pine and can be seen from miles around. The area has been much affected by mining and quarrying and most moor stones were split up and used in buildings. This one has no sign anywhere that anyone has ever tried to break it so it has clearly been regarded as special. The easiest route is to go south-east along the footpath through the farmyard at Blue Pool Farm and then south-west along ridge. Logan rocks were traditionally used in Cornwall to make vows because it was said that no-one with treachery in their heart could make one rock. This one was toppled by a man called Shrubsall in about 1650 when he was governor of Pendennis Castle for Cromwell's regime. This may have been prompted by one of Merlin's prophecies, in this case that Men Amber would stand until England had no king. Stukely said "Main Ambres; petrae ambrosiae, signify the stones anointed with holy oil, consecrated; or in a general sense, a temple, altar or places or worship"19. Total tosh of course. It's far more likely to be from the Cornish verb amma, to kiss. Borlase said that Men Amber was overthrown because "the vulgar used to resort to this place at particular times of the year, and payed to this rock more respect than was thought becoming to good Christians"20. It looks to me that if some of us went and payed a bit of respect with some levers we might be able to replace this rock so that it logs again. But it's a very big chunk of granite. John Michel says that logan rocks were often on the end of alignments in Cornwall, that they are traditionally associated with the invocation of fertility and that it is said that they played an important part in the generation of the terrestrial current and its transmission down alignments of pillars and stone circles21.

19 W Stukely, "Stonehenge. A temple Restored to the British Druids", 1740
20 Borlase, "Antiquities of Cornwall", 1874
21 John Michel, "The View over Atlantis", Abacus, 1973, p65

Andy Norfolk
Posted by Andy Norfolk
8th December 2007ce
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