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Men Amber

Natural Rock Feature

<b>Men Amber</b>Posted by RhiannonImage © J T Blight - Ancient Crosses and other antiquities in the west of Cornwall.
Also known as:
  • Maen Amber

Nearest Town:Helston (4km S)
OS Ref (GB):   SW650322 / Sheet: 203
Latitude:50° 8' 33.27" N
Longitude:   5° 17' 21.94" W

Added by chris s

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Photographs:<b>Men Amber</b>Posted by Andy Norfolk <b>Men Amber</b>Posted by chris s <b>Men Amber</b>Posted by chris s Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Men Amber</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Fieldnotes

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An odd one this...in that I'd been for many years aware of the feature from afar without ever really being able to place it satisfactorily in close up. Men Amber is a granite tor on the most westerly rise of the Carnmenellis granite, and viewed from northerly aspects comprises a readily identifiable outcrop on a long low ridge that also comprises Crowan Beacon, Polcrebo Downs, Longstone Downs (see below) and Prospidnick Hill before the land drops towards the Cober valley and the Lizard. It is the only granite tor visible along this otherwise relatively smooth ridge from a north-westerly direction, and is plainly visible from the North Cliffs and thus sites such as Crane Castle 11km distant.

The tor is very much of the classic 'stacked' formation rather than a crag, and thus is quite possibly the site of a logan stone I have seen reference to in Cornish antiquarian literature as 'being near to Nancegollan'.

It is also at the crossroads of two tracks of arguably great antiquity: firstly a ridgeway slightly bowdlerized by subsequent enclosure running broadly south from Black Rock (adjacent to the cairn and fire summit at Crowan Beacon) along the ridge a modern field's width behind the tor across Longstone Downs; within a couple of hundred yards of Prospidnick Longstone, then just east of the summit of Prospidnick Hill, before becoming a minor road and dropping gradually into the valley of the River Cober to the erstwhile (medieval at least) tidal limit of that river at Helston St. Johns; secondly a mostly intact track which seemingly originated at Tregonning Hill, across NW through Carleen before becoming a hollow way on the direct incline up immediately past Men Amber. East from here a sequence of now unclassified minor roads lead in an almost direct easterly bearing across the Carnmenellis uplands to Porkellis, Longdowns and eventually Mabe Burnthouse above the River Fal.
I need to do some more fieldwork and sight bearings on this one, but am sure it is usefully sightlined with Tregonning Hill, and indeed even as far as the foothills of Penwith looking NW. The shout goes out - calling Mr. Hamhead?!?
chris s Posted by chris s
7th December 2007ce
Edited 7th December 2007ce

Miscellaneous

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In the Parish of Sithney, stood the famous Logan-stone, called Men-amber, which is 11 Feet long from East to West, 4 Feet deep, and 6 Feet wide. This top Stone was so nicely poised, that, "a little Child, as Mr. Scawen in his M.S. says, could instantly move it;" but in the Time of Cromwell, when all monumental and curious Pieces of Antiquity, that Ignorance and fiery Zeal deemed superstitious, not only grew into Contempt, but which it was reckoned a Mark of Piety to deface or destroy, one Shrubsall, Governor of Pendennis, with much ado, caused it to be undermined and thrown down, to the great Grief of the Country.
From The Natural history of England by Benjamin Martin (1759).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th November 2012ce

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'
http://www.google.co.uk/books?id=KcYMAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA213
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th December 2007ce
Edited 18th November 2012ce