The Heritage Trust will be holding its Outreach Event in Cornwall this year. The event will extend over two or three days either side of the summer solstice on Friday, 21 June and will include visits to Trethevy Quoit, The Hurlers, Cheesewring, Rillaton Barrow and Craddock Moor stone circle.
There is a tradition respecting the large top of a cromlech, in Cornwall, that was removed to a brook at a distance, and converted into a bridge; it is said that this stone possessed the power of speech, and answered questions put to it, until on a certain time, it cracked in an effort to speak, and has been silent ever since. This vague tradition must have originated in the oracular use made of the cromlech from whence the stone was taken.
Vague indeed. Unless someone can enlighten us..
From p279 of The Graphic and Historical Illustrator
Edward Wedlake Brayley (1834) - which can be perused on Google Books.
I own, I was thunderstruck* at the report of this singular instance of superstition, and suspended my belief of its existence till I was at length convinced by the testimony of my senses. The old lady, who possesses this miraculous thunderbolt, lives, at this moment, in the parish of St. Keverne, adjoining to Manaccan. She informed me that it was found, many years ago, at no great distance from her house, just after a thunderstorm, half buried in the ground, and was taken up hot and smoking; and that its virtue was accidentally discovered by one of the family, "who lost the rheumatism" merely by handling it. On asking her what was her method of applying her thunderbolt to her patients, her answer was, that "She boil'd 'en for about three hours, and gave the water to her patients, with directions to bathe the part affected; and that she had cured hundreds. - "Boil'd dunderbolt was a vine thing for the rheumatis," said an old man present. - - It is a perfect celt.
p28 of 'The Old English Gentleman: A Poem, by Mr. Polwhele' by Richard Polwhele, published 1797. Online at Google Books.
*yes very good.
And some further axehead folklore:
A celt (commonly called in this neighbourhood a thunderbolt) was some years ago found on [West Looe] Down. The common people believe these celts to be produced by thunder, and thrown down from the clouds; and that they shew what weather will ensue by changing their colour.
p32 of 'The Parochial History of Cornwall' by Davies Gilbert (v4) 1838. Also on Google Books.
"If you ever find yourself in West Penwith (Cornwall) with 3 hours or so to spare, this walk should satisfy the Megalithic cravings of most people as it takes in half a dozen or more sites of different types."
The Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network is a charitable partnership formed to look after the ancient sites and monuments of Cornwall.
They work closely with local communities and official organisations to protect and promote the ancient heritage landscape through research, education and outreach activities.
Flyingpast.org is the culmination of a twelve year project mapping archaeological and historical sites visible on aerial photos in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The project was commissioned and paid for by English Heritage and the mapping was carried out by the Historic Environment Service of Cornwall County Council. That's their words...my words...brilliant site!
The Heritage Trust will be holding its Outreach Event in Cornwall this year. The event will begin with lunch (for those wanting one) at the Cheesewring Hotel in Minions, Liskeard on Friday, 21 June. We’ll meet at the hotel around 11:30am leaving there around 1pm for a visit to Trethevy Quoit, then back to base at Minions for visits to The Hurlers, Pipers, Rillaton Barrow and Stowe’s.
"On the 16th April I joined a working party from TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) of Cornwall to clear some of the gorse off the banked enclosure known as King Arthur’s Hall on King Arthur’s Down, a part of Bodmin Moor. Always a fascinating place to visit, the day turned out to be far more exciting than I ever imagined!"
How the north side [of the chamber] was formed there is no evidence to shew. If a single slab stood there, it must have been removed when a pit was dug in front of it, some years ago, by a treasure-seeker. We have here again the old story, so often told in connexion with the destruction and plundering of ancient monumental structures. A miner in the neighbourhood had long set a covetous eye on the barrow as the storehouse of great riches; and one night he had so impressive a dream, bringing vividly before him a great crock of gold, that at dawn he proceeded to the mound, and dug the pit just referred to, exposing the kistvaen, into which he got full access; but what he found there, my informant, whom I accidentally met near the spot, and who knew the miner, could not tell; and as the explorer himself has since left Cornwall, there seems now to be but little chance of ascertaining what the cell contained, a state of things much to be regretted, as from its structure and peculiar position the barrow is of more than ordinary interest.
The fort is mentioned in a miracle play written down in 1504: 'Beunans Meriasek' - the Life of St Meriasek. It's been suggested that it's a subversively anti-English. It was written in Cornish, which few toffs would understand, and the villain is called Teudar, which sounds remarkably like Tudor. Teudar is an invader who is reigning by force. Meriasek says he needs baptising but Teudar isn't having it and wants Meriasek hanged. The saint is warned in a vision and hides easily from Teudar's soldiers under a rock, consecrating the spring there to cure the insane, and then runs off to Britanny.
The second part of the play introduces Teudar's nemesis, the Duke of Cornwall, who vows to get rid of Teudar for having driven away the saint.
Me yv duk in oll kernow
indella ytho ov thays
hag vhel arluth in pov
a tamer the pen an vlays
tregys off lemen heb wov
berth in castel an dynas
sur in peddre
ha war an tyreth vhel
thym yma castel arel
a veth gelwys tyndagyel
henna yv o[v]fen tregse
I am Duke in all Cornwall:
So was my father,
And a high lord in the country
From Tamar to the end of the kingdom.
I am dwelling now, without a lie,
Within the castle of Dynas
Surely in Pidar,
And in the high land
I have another castle,
Which is called Tyntagel:
That is my chief dwelling-seat.
Pydar is one of the hundreds of Cornwall. You can see the play here in Whitley Stokes' translation, published 1872. There is much interesting discussion of it here in J P D Cooper's 'Propaganda and the Tudor State' (2003).