From the northwest henge driving southish a track is on the other side of the road and map says it goes straight to the central henge, we plumped for the shortcut, because thats the way I am. I really should mend my ways, the track doesnt go all the way but degenerates into something like a footpath, it was really difficult reversing over rough ground encased in brambles. But when I did turn round I could see we'd got within a hundred yards of the henge so me Eric and maggie scampered over and climbed over the fence .
The henge is stunningly impressive, if it was on its own I would still have come here but three in a row is just stupifying. The henge is higher in places than others by the southeast entrance the bank has so eroded that a barrow like structure appears at the entrance. It had been a long day and the sun was low in the sky, it would be dark before we were half way home, we left the henge to the fearful sheep and monument destroying rabbits.
Fairly easy to find; between Thornborough and West Tanfield.
The stone banks of the Henge reminded me a lot of Mayburgh Henge near Penrith.
The Henge is well preserved, with banks standing perhaps 3 metres high in places. You get a good overall view of the site from the top of the banks. The weather was overcast and very, very windy – made it difficult to stand upright on top of the bank. There was a half decomposed rabbit at one of the entrances into the Henge.
After the jungly rainforest of the North henge, this one is a delight! Suddenly you can understand what the builders were on about! With massive earth ramparts, the hint of a ditch, and a distinct raised central platform, this has an everyone's-welcome, inclusive market-place-type feel to it. Surely not a burial place, to me this feels like a place for the living: for singing, dancing, meeting, trading, playing and ceremony. Moth and me sat for sometime on the top of the bank at the southern end trying to make sense of it, looking to the wooded Northern henge just 500 metres or so away and down to the southern henge, it's soft contour just rising out of the field 500 metres in a straight line to the south.
This had an industrial feel to me, as if people had been taking advantage of it.
The wildlife in the area surrounding this henge seemed to consist of seagulls and plastic bags blown here from the nearby landfill site.
Recently a crop circle appeared in the next field: now I like crop circles but this seemed to be laughing at the henge; well the last laugh is at the wheatfield, it is one which is earmarked for quarrying. A sad place.
This reminds me a lot of Mayburgh henge, it’s in a similar state of disrepair and has the same air of abandonment. The entrances are still well defined but the bank is badly damaged and the internal ditch has just about gone. Apparently it is thought that the banks of this henge and its two siblings were covered in gypsum crystals, echoing the chalk earthworks of the south of England. The henge also stands over an earlier mile long cursus which ran in a northeast to southwest direction and later more than 2 dozen round barrows were constructed in this area, so it was obviously an important place for some considerable length of time.
This is a beast of a henge, it's huge!
There is no obvious access so we had to bust-in over the gate and then Wow! How many folk would this place hold? and jesus! why did they need three of 'em.
Although the bank is quite broken down in places you still get the feeling that this place is a monster.
If all three henges are contemporary with each other the amount of work put in is immense, there must have been some serious stuff going on here back in the day.
My theory, for what its worth.
If you are journeying up to the axe country from the South and East you will hit this place. The central henge could be the mart where animals are traded for the precious axes. It just looks too big for people. A neolithic N.E.C.
The site is also central to people from the Dales, the Vale of York and the Tabular hill peoples. Three sets of folk, three henges ????
I only had the opportunity to see the central henge on this my first visit, my companion for the day wasn't feeling too good, and I didn't want to drag out his suffering any longer! The henge is in quite a bad state of repair, but is pretty big and good enough to recognise and so is worth seeing.
During the late summer of 1952 the writer was of a team of archaeologists [excavating Thornborough Central henge].. Curious villagers often visited the "dig", and from the gossip of one, a fairly intelligent quarry foreman of about 50, the following beliefs emerged. The henge was supposed to have "treasure in't middle". It was known as "the charging-ground" and had been used as such by either the Romans or the Saxons (a previous local find of a Roman bath lent favour to the former alternative). The protagonists, mounted on horseback either for tilting or for single combat, had entered at the two opposing entrances, and had hurtled to their mutual encounter at the centre. Cheering spectators had thronged the banks, isolated from the combatants by the inner ditch, which was filled with water.
[..] this local aetiology is of some interest, because it has a parallel in another henge, King Arthur's Round Table, Penrith, Cumberland.
Folklore from a Northern Henge Monument
Folklore, Vol. 64, No. 3. (Sep., 1953), pp. 427-429.