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


Nine Stones


<b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by MeicImage © Michael Mitchell
Also known as:
  • Belstone Nine Stones

Nearest Town:Okehampton (3km WNW)
OS Ref (GB):   SX612928 / Sheet: 191
Latitude:50° 43' 3.44" N
Longitude:   3° 57' 59.11" W

Added by phil

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<b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by postman <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by postman <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by postman <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by postman <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by postman <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by postman <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by caealun <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by Meic <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by Meic <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by Moth <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by Moth <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by Jane <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by Moth <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by Moth <b>Nine Stones</b>Posted by grrr


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When I was 10, I remember seeing a film called 'The Belstone Fox' starring Eric Porter and Bill Travers and crying all the way through it. Now here I was in Belstone village. No tears this time.

We'd come to see Belstone Nine Stones, a cairn circle of now only 12 stones up on the moor to the south of the chocolate-boxey village and thankfully not a long walk away. Moth had been here before and had taken a while to locate it thinking it was up near the tor. It isn't! Stay close to the field wall and when that runs out, keep walking straight and you'll eventually see it. It's very pretty and has lovely views down towards a waterfall and up towards a tor, but the drizzle was persistent so there was no chance of painting it.

It's size reminded me of a Scillonian cairn or Yockenthwaithe and it felt like it was in the 'wrong' place to be an independent stone circle. I'd guess it was a cairn.
Jane Posted by Jane
10th July 2005ce
Edited 10th July 2005ce

Known as the nine stones, this is a small-ish ring of around a dozen stones. It's hard to tell exactly how many, as there are many fallers, and I suspect that some have been "restored". Yesterday there were certainly two recent additions, both of which wobbled when touched, and one of which had a patch of dead "I've had a stone lying on me, but not for long" grass behind it.

The circle is about 25ft across, and apparently it was originally a ring of up to 40 stones around a central cairn. It's not known whether the ring formed part of the cairn or was a seperate boundary decoration.

If you fancy it (and you should), the directions on the excellent megalithic walks site are spot on. There's a helpful link to the Nine Stones below.
grrr Posted by grrr
18th August 2003ce
Edited 18th August 2003ce


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Lunchtime might be the best time to visit - apparently the stones dance everyday at noon.* They're also known as the 17 brothers. That's some discrepancy (especially as they are also known as the nine maidens - they were turned to stone for dancing on the sabbath) - I suppose nine is a rather special number (three times three), and maybe seventeen, as a prime number, also has its weirdness.

(partly from Grinsell's 'folklore of prehistoric sites in Britain')

*This is mentioned in Notes and Queries 61 from 1850.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
25th September 2002ce
Edited 5th April 2006ce


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According to Ruth E St Leger-Gordon, the author and playwright Eden Philpotts wrote this poem about the stones. Philpotts thinks there are only seven. Why is counting stones so difficult, even without poetic license?
And now at every Hunter's Moon
That haggard cirque of stones so still
Awakens to immortal thrill
And seven small maidens in silver shoon
Twixt dark of night and white of day
Twinkle upon the sere old heath
Like living blossoms in a wreath
Then shrink again to granite grey.
So blue-eyed Dian shall ever dance
With Linnette, Bethkin, Jennifer,
Arisa, Petronell and Nance.

Although Philpotts describes them dancing, St L-G favours the idea that if you visit at noon you might see them all just shift their positions very slightly. Don't blink.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th October 2004ce
Edited 12th October 2004ce


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Megalithic Walks site

Great pics and more
Posted by phil
13th January 2002ce