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Miscellaneous Posts by Rhiannon

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Leighlinbridge (Standing Stone / Menhir)

From inquiries that Canon Willcocks was good enough to get made for me amongst some of the oldest inhabitants of the district, it appears that the pillar-stone was always known as "the Clonegall stone." Gall is an ancient term for a pillar-stone; and "Clonegall," in the present instance, would no doubt signify "pillar-stone meadow."
From Notes on a gallaun, or pillar-stone, at Leighlinbridge, County Carlow' by Sir Edmund T Bewley. In the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland v35, 1905.

Nutgrove (Standing Stone / Menhir)

A Gallaun near Ballindangan, Co. Cork.
(By Courtenay Moore, Canon, M.A., Council Member C.H. and A.S.)

"Some months ago, a Corporal Oscroft of the Royal Engineers, who was engaged in this district, told me of the existence of the Gallaun. I went out on Saturday, July the 16th, to find it out. Stopping at the level-crossing of Ballindangan, on the Mitchelstown and Fermoy Railway, I asked an old woman at the gate-house about it; but whether it was owing to her deafness or ignorance, she could give me no information. However, help was at hand, a bright, intelligent girl, just entered on her 'teens, who overheard the conversation, and who answered to the name of Mary Kate, came forward and said she knew the stone and the way to it. Under her guidance I started off, and in about seven minutes we reached the place.

The Gallaun is a remarkable one, standing by itself in a field near the railway line. It is a monolith, ten feet nine inches in height, and five feet in superficial breadth; it is greatly scored and fissured, doubtless by the atmospheric influences and ice-action, but I could not see any human inscription on it of any kind. There is a small elder tree growing out of a cavity near the top.

The Gallaun is out of the perpendicular, probably owing to some yielding of the earth at the base, and inclines at an angle, roughly speaking, of some 12 or 20 degrees. It would be a great pity if this inclination increased, and that the stone should eventually fall.

On returning to the gate-lodge at the level crossing, I made some further enquiries, and by this time Mary Kate, my guide, was recognised by all and sundry as the proper authority. She said the Gallaun was in the town of Kilnadrow, "Spill it for him, Mary Kate, spill it for the gintleman," said her grandmother. Mary Kate accordingly "spilt it."

[...] The thickness of the stone is about one foot six inches. How much of it is under ground I have no definite idea; judging from the inclination, there is probably not very much. An old woman, who lives in the locality, informed me that a number of years ago, a man was ploughing up the field in which the Gallaun stands. The plough struck against a large flat stone, which he raised, and found under it an earthen urn containing some human bones. He replaced the urn, covered it up, and it has never been disturbed nor re-discovered since. At all events, the existence of the Ballindangan Gallaun is worth recording as a remarkable specimen of its class of pre-historic antiquities.
In Historical and Topographical Notes etc...' collected by J G White (1905).

I love that these sound just like TMA fieldnotes, with chatty remarks about the difficulties of finding the stone, and the quirks of the people met in the process.

Moneydig (Passage Grave)

[The Daff Stone] is the name popularly given to a large stone which lies on a low mound of earth in a field close to the Moneydig cross-roads. It is roughly diamond-shaped, the longer diagonal reaching 7 feet, and the shorter about 4 feet. The average thickness is from 1 foot 9 inches to 2 feet.

[...] Recently, Mr. S. K. Kircker and myself, happened to be driving past the place. Noticing the stone, we stopped to have a closer look at it. To our astonishment we discovered that it was the cover-stone of a sepulchral chamber. Clearing away some dead thorn-bushes which were about, we found that the stone did not quite cover the chamber at one particular spot. We were afterwards told that the bushes were designed to prevent some young lambs, which were in the field, from falling through the opening thus formed.*

Making his way, with much difficulty, into the chamber by this "open door," Mr. Kircker, after taking some measurements, made a further discovery. He reported that one of the upright stones forming the chamber had some curious markings or scribings upon it.

I immediately secured some paper from a neighbouring shop, and he made me a rubbing, which, though not very satisfactory, showed at least that the stone was rudely decorated. [...]

The word "Daff" means in Irish 'a vat or tub'; and certainly the appearance which the chamber presents to anyone looking in justifies the name. Seven large stones form the staves of the 'cask', if I may so call it, and the cover-stone furnishes the lid.

[...] The stone marked X on the plan is the one which carries the scribings. They occur at about one-third of the height from the bottom as exposed, and cover a space 1 foot 7 inches broad by 1 foot high. On an average they are one-tenth of an inch in width. They are made up of five figures; the largest is a spear-shaped one, and runs almost across the entire space occupied. It also occurs below the other four.

The edges of the blade are formed by a series of scorings, at least five or six on the upper edge, and ten or twelve on the under one. The ends are open, and seem to curl outward - one of them certainly does. The space between these ends is filled with a smaller triangular figure, shaped like an arrow-head, with longish wings and no stem. A similar figure, but longer and sharper, occupies the top corner to the right.

The left-hand corner opposite this is taken up with a circular ornament, 5 1/2 inches in diameter. The circle is incomplete, or penannular, three inches or so of an are being wanting [sic]. There is no cup at the centre, but there are some five straight lines running downwards from the centre to the circumference, two of which are very distinct.

Though the rubbing shows only one circle, or rather partial circle, there are what seem to me faint traces of other concentric circles within this. Mr. Kircker is inclined to think that originally it was a spiral - and it may have been so; but the surface of the stone is so rough, and the scribings so faint, that it is impossible to make anything more out of the figure than what appears on the rubbing.

Between this circular figure and the point of the large spear-like one underneath the others is a fourth 'broad arrow.' Its point is in the opposite direction to that of the 'spear' and also of that which is within the open ends. In both these instances the direction of the point is determined by the shape of the space to be filled with the ornamentation.

I may add, before I leave this, that on the large stone directly opposite to the one bearing the decoration - the largest one, indeed, of all the uprights - there are a few lines scored, but there is no approach to a pattern [...]
From George R Buick's article in the 1904 Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.

I love the way there's a sense of excitement as they explore the stones. And this* made me smile, I bet they found this out when the farmer came over to see what the hell they were up to, and told them off for removing the branches he'd deliberately put there.

It seems to me that there must be some quite complicated designs on the stones. And this would be very cool to see. But when I tried to find out about them on the internet, I drew a blank. The NISMR page is pretty sparse. The additional details link suggests the Official Visit in 1997 didn't notice any carvings at all. But George and his mate Mr Kircker didn't imagine them, surely? They took some rubbings of them - twice, because the first set went astray. You couldn't imagine them twice.

I know what I'd do if I lived nearby, I'd be over there with a torch and a camera.

Blowing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Summary of Proceedings of the Bath Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club for the years 1865-6.
[...] The first [Excursion] of the season, to Wantage, the Berkshire White Horse, and Uffington, was a success in every way, due chiefly to the admirable arrangements made by Mr. Wasbrough for the transit and conveyance of the members. Under this gentleman's guidance the chief points of interest in the birth place of King Alfred were visited [...]. Leaving Wantage the members proceeded in carriages to the foot of the Downs, and essayed a blast upon the blowing stone (a mass of perforated silicious sandstone, said to have been formerly used for sounding an alarm over the neighbouring country).

The united efforts of all Bath were unable to produce a sound from the trumpet shaped hole. A native trumpeter, however, being found was more successful, and satisfied all present that when in its original place on the top of the Downs a most effective alarm could be raised.

Manton Down (Long Barrow)

Manton Down Barrow Destroyed.
Discovery by Youth Hostel Party.
From our correspondent, Swindon, April 27.

The Long Barrow at Manton Down, near Marlborough, Wiltshire, which is believed to date from about 2,200 B.C., has been destroyed. Its destruction was discovered yesterday when a party of Youth Hostel Association members were taken to inspect the tumulus by Mr. N. Thomas, curator of Devizes Museum, and Mr. L.V. Grinsell, curator of the Department of Antiquities, City Museum, Bristol. Trees in the area had also been cleared.

Large stones which composed the barrow are scattered over a fairly wide area. Gathered around a solitary small tree are big sarsen stones at the point which was probably the burial chamber. Some now stand on edge. In a half circle from the rubble which originally composed the mound are groups of uprooted bushes and trees.

Mr. Thomas said to-day: "Mr. Grinsell and I are reporting the matter to the chief inspector of monuments at the Ministry of Works." The title of the barrow, he said, was something of a misnomer. It was, in fact, one of the shortest of the barrows, of which there are several in the locality. He put its length at about 80ft., and it would, he thought, have been about 3 ft. to 4ft. high. It was scheduled as an ancient monument.
Featuring my favourite folklore icon, Mr Grinsell. From The Times, April 28th, 1953. Can you imagine their faces (or the language). The next part of the story is in another post below.

Carreg Samson (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

The Longhouse Cromlech, Pembrokeshire.

Mr. E. Owen Phillips, of the Cathedral Close, St. David's, writes thus to the Times:- I have just returned from visiting the celebrated Longhouse cromlech, which, I am glad to say, remains in its integrity, untouched by the rude had of the destroyer, and I am thankful to believe likely to remain so.

Mr. Griffiths, the owner of the farm on which the Cromlech stands, accompanied me to the spot, and I have his authority for stating that he takes the greatest interet in this magnificent monument of prehistoric archaeology and in its preservation. His father-in-law, a former tenant of the farm, spent much time and labour, in clearing away obstructing rubbish, in order to bring the cromlech into bolder relief and afford a better view of it all round - a great improvement, as it certainly presents a more grand and striking appeance at present than it did when I saw it some years since.

On my asking Mr. Griffiths for an explanation of the statement which appeared in a letter to The Times of September 6, that a labourer who was engaged in grubbing up stones near the monument to fill in a gap in a fence, said that he, the owner, "threatened to overthrow and demolish the monument altogether in order to construct a new bank across an adjacent field!" Mr Griffiths replied that "there was not a word of truth in it, nor any foundation for the statement, and that very probably the man was hoaxing the stranger."

Mr. Griffiths complains and feels aggrieved that, assuming the statement to have been made, Mr. Greville Chester did not call on him to ascertain the truth or otherwise of it; the more so as Mr. Chester must have passed within a few yards of his house on returning from the cromlech. The disturbance caused by the stones, which are now to be seen filling up a gap in a fence, does not in the slightest degree interfere with the stability of the cromlech, which the public will be interested to know the present landlord is as anxious to preserve as carefully as it has been in the past.

At the same time, I agree with Mr. Greville Chester that it was an oversight, at least, on the part of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners "not to insert a proviso in the deed of sale for the preservation of so important a monument of prehistoric archaeology;" since the farm might have found a purchaser in one whose conservative interest in this grand old monument was less than that of the present owner.
In The Cambrian newspaper, 19th September 1890.

Whitcott Keysett (Standing Stone / Menhir)

At a distance of somewhat more than a mile from Clun, in a field to the right, near the hamlet of Whitcott Keysett, stands one of those extraordinary stones which are usually classed under the title of Druldical monuments. It is a flat, broad stone, of very irregular shape, placed upright in the ground, in which it is evidently inserted to a considerable depth. Above ground it measures eight feet three inches in height by seven feet broad.
From 'Wanderings of an Antiquary' by Thomas Wright, 1854. (It's curious that I added this site to the database myself, a million years ago - it must have a bit of folklore to go with it?).

Perthi Duon (Burial Chamber)

The dolmen at PERTHI DUON, in the parish of Llanidan, three-quarters of a mile S.W. by S. of the (New) Church, is first mentioned by Rowlands. He says: "There is a shapely cromlech on the lands of Blochty... now thrown down and lying flat on its supporters". This was in 1723. From a sketch which he gives we see that it was called "Maen Llwyd".

[..] In the Arch. Camb. of 1846 a correspondent writes of this monument: "About twenty years ago (1826) brass or copper chisels were found in digging under it, when it fell down... there are still three uprights under it".
From 'The Megalithic Remains of Anglesey' by E N Baynes, 1911.

Uffington White Horse (Hill Figure)

After this manner our Horse is formed, on the side of an high and steep hill, facing the North west. His dimensions are extended over an acre of ground, or thereabouts: his Head, Neck, Body and Tail, consist of one white line; as does also each of his Four Legs. This is done by cutting a trench into the chalk, of about two or three feet deep, and about ten feet broad. The Chalk of the trench being of a brighter colour, than the turf which surrounds it, the rays of the afternoon's Sun darting upon it makes the whole figure visible for ten or a dozen, nay fifteen miles, if I am rightly informed.

The Horse at first view is enough to raise the admiration of every curious spectator, being designed in so masterlike a manner, that it may defy the painter's skill, to give a more exact description of that animal: which were it not so apparent, would hardly gain belief with an antiquary, who considers to how low an ebb the art of drawing was sunk at that time; as appears from the works of their best makers, the Saxon coins, and the jewel of King Alfred, described by Dr Hickes and others, and now preserved in the Museum at Oxford.

If we consider it further, we must otherwise allow, that no small skill in Opticks was requisite, both for the choice of the ground, and for disposing rude lines, as they appear to a person on the spot, in such a manner, as to form so beautiful a representation.

And again, if durability was intended, the ingenuity of the artist will appear still greater. For from its barren soil, and steep situation, it has nothing to fear from the inroads of the plough, the grazing of larger cattle, or the stagnation of waters; all of which contribute more or less to efface things of this sort.

When I saw it, the Head had suffered a little, and wanted reparation; and the extremities of his hinder legs from their unavoidable situation, have by the fall of rains been filled up in some measure with the washings of the upper parts; so that in the nearest view of him, the Tail, which does not suffer the same inconvenience, and has continued entire from the beginning, seems longer than his legs. The supplies which nature is continually affording, occasion the turf on the upper verge of his body, for want of continuity, to crumble, and fall off into the white trench, which in many years time produces small specks of turf, and not a little obscures the brightness of the Horse.

Though there is no danger from hence of the whole figure being obliterated; yet the neighbouring inhabitants have a custom of Scouring the Horse, as they call it; at which time a solemn festival is celebrated, and manlike games with prizes exhibited, which no doubt had their original in the Saxon times, in memory of the victory.

This falling of the turf into the trench is the reason likewise, why the country people erroneously imagine, that the Horse, since his first fabrication, has shifted his quarters, and is got higher upon the Hill, than formerly.
Francis Wise, who is convinced it's all down to the Saxons (and unfairly rubbishes the latter's drawing skills to compound his error), in 'A letter to Dr Mead concerning some antiquities in Berkshire' (1738).

The Coffin Stone (Natural Rock Feature)

In the hedge on the left hand of the lane, and two hundred and seventy feet from the yard, lies the remarkable stone called by Dr. Stukeley, from its resemblance, the coffin stone, as only one side appears next the lane, the other parts being concealed by the mould, which in length of time has accumulated under the hedge, so that bushes and two elm-trees spread their roots on the surface of the stone.

It is in length fourteen feet two inches, in depth two feet, and in breadth about six feet, as near as I could guess by thrusting a stick under the hedge and roots with some difficulty. In the field adjoining, are several very large stones a little beneath the surface of the earth, some of which lie so fleet*, that it is with difficulty the men can plough it; and in some parts of it they appear level with the surface, as the tenant shewed me. Stones of great magnitude likewise lie dispersed about the moat and yard, which give the place a romantick appearance; and one before the barn measured nine feet and a half in length, and seven feet in breadth.

Another, much broader and of greater size, is at the upper end of the yard, near the spring-head. All these stones are irregular as when first taken from the earth, but , through the great length of time and injuries of weather, are become smooth; and of the same kind, and similar to to those which compose the celebrated British monument called Kits-Cotty-House, situated at a small distance from this place [...]
From John Thorpe's 'Custumale Roffense' (1788). *fleet = shallow

The Buckstone (Rocking Stone)

Restoration of the Celebrated "Buckstone" Rock.

The above wonderful mass of old red sandstone conglomerate, which was celebrated all through Britain as a rocking stone and Druidic altar, it will be remembered, was accidentally thrown from its position on the summit of a high wooded hill, about three miles from Monmouth, on the road to Coleford, on the 10th of June last. Not only were the people of the immediate neighbourhood indignant, but the London daily papers took the matter up very warmly, the Standard especially.

The huge mass is the property of the Crown, and is too well-known far and wide to again need description in these columns. As soon as he heard of the catastrophe, Mr. C. H. Crompton-Roberts, of Drybridge House, Monmouth, offered £100 towards its restoration. The Mayor of Monmouth and others put themselves in communication with the Crown authorities, who ultimately determined to restore the celebrated rock at the entire expense of the Crown.

The undertaking was one of great difficulty, the huge mass having its chief block, about 50 tons weight, turned upside down, and partly buried in the earth. The enormous top slab, or stratum, had slipped off and fallen beyond the chief block, but right side up.

Messrs. Payne and Son, stone contractors, of Lambsquay House, Coleford, were appointed to carry out the work. The contractors erected two enormous cranes and a powerful crab on the hill above the fallen rock. Then large baulks of timber were placed with the ends under the chief block, and iron rails were laid on these baulks. About six tons of chains were attached to the chief block for the purpose of "skidding" it up to a position for turning, which, after a considerable time, was accomplished. The top stratum was then hoisted adjacent to the chief stone, and the large corner was also brought to a convenient position. This was the work of months.

A plateau for the stone to rest on was then made, with an enormous iron bar let into the solid rock beneath, a bed of cement made of the best material, mixed with similar stone to the Buckstone ground up, having been prepared. The top slab was then raised into its position, being cemented and cramped on, and the corner was afterwards affixed by the same means.

The result is that the work is now completed in a most satisfactory and highly creditable manner. The rock, when the cranes, &c. are removed, will, as it now stands, scarcely, if at all, appear to have sustained any alteration, especially from the road below. Mr K. Tudor Williams, photographer, of Monmouth, has shown us some photographs of the Buckstone both before and after the overthrow and in the course of being lifted. We understand that the rock will be railed round, to prevent future mishap, and that an opening will be cut between the rock and the road, so as to afford a good view of the Buckstone to those who pass by.
From the 'Western Mail', December 15th, 1885.

Lanyon Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

On the 10th instant, this celebrated stone, which weighs about thirteen tons, and which fell from its ancient situation on the night of the 19th October, 1815, during one of the most violent and destructive storms of wind ever remembered in that part of the country, was replaced by the united and indefatigable exertions of Lieut. GOLDSMITH and Capt. GIDDY, with the aid of the materials and machinery employed about the Logan Rock, and which the Honourable Navy Board consented to grant them for so laudable a purpose.
From 'The Morning Post', December 16th, 1824. Goldsmith and Giddy must have been on a roll and thought they might as well sort out the quoit after their success at the superb Treryn Dinas. I suppose Goldsmith thought people might then let him off for toppling the logan stone in the first place?!

Ty Newydd (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

In 1844 I visited [Anglesey] and took a drawing of the double cromlech at Llanvaelog, one of the best in the island. One cromlech was erect; the other by its side, thrown down: or rather, I should say that the two constitued the remains of a large chambered mound - perhaps of a cromlech with a passage, as at Bryn Celli in the same island.

The cap-stone of that which was erect measured thirteen feet and a half in length by about five feet in depth and width at the thickest part. The cap of the fallen one was broken in two, but when entire it was not less than fifteen feet long. Fortunately this drawing remains in my portfolio; and it shews the importance of preserving memorials of these early monuments, whenever opportunity offers, made with all possible care; for since then the fallen cromlech has utterly disappeard; and the upright one has been so seriously damaged, that its destruction will now be the work of only a few winters - all through the sheer stupidity of men!

I had occasion to pass by the spot last summer, and on going to renew my acquaintance with this venerable monument, found nothing more remaining than what is represented in the accompanying engraving. An "improving tenant" had come upon the farm. He wanted to repair his walls; and though the native rock cropped out all around, he found it more convenient to blast the fallen stone, the very existence of which was probably unknown to either the landlord or his agent. Hence the fallen one disappeared. The tenant, however, seems to have been in some degree aware of the importance of the erect cromlech; for he cut a kind of trench all round it, and by subsequent ploughings has left it standing on a kind of low mound. Formerly it stood in a grass field, among gorse bushes, with no wall near it, and only some broken embankments with Anglesey hedges on the top.

A few years ago the land came by inheritance, on the death of Lord Dinorben, to the present possessor of Kinmel; and the tenant, desirous of shewing respect to his new landlord, determined to celebrate the occasion with a bonfire. This fire he lighted on the top of the cromlech; and though the stone was five feet thick, the action of the fire and the air split the ponderous mass right through the middle, crossways! Of course this injury was not intended; but it was well known and lamented in the neighbourhood, - for several labouring people mentioned the circumstance to me, and regretted it. As it now stands, the combined action of autumn rains and winter frosts will infallibly enlarge the crack, and will complete the disintegration of the stone. The cap, too, stands now on only three stones, and is in the most imminent danger of coming down altogether, for one of them supports it by an extremely small point, very near one of the sides of the triangle of gravity; and so fine is this point, that it is a wonder how it can withstand the great pressure bearing upon it.

The stones are all of a metamorphic character, containing crystals of quartz, chlorite, and feldspar; almost granitic in texture.

Ten men, with three or four horses and some powerful levers, would repair this cromlech in a single day, and guarantee its preservation for ages. But will they do so?

H.L.J.
Oct. 25, 1863.
An impassioned article called 'Cromlech at Llanvaelog, Anglesey' in Archaeologia Cambrensis Jan 1864. Both of HLJ's sketches are in the Images section above.

Kilmar Tor (Rocky Outcrop)

The Kilmarth Rocks are a lofty range of half a mile in length, running east and west, about two miles northward from the Cheesewring, and in the parish of Linkinhorne, Cornwall. The westernmost pile, represented in the sketch, stands on the summit of this elevated ridge, and is in itself about twenty-eight feet high. It overhands at least twelve or fifteen feet towards the north, and when viewed from the east appears so slightly based, that a man or a strong gale might suffice to shove the whole mass over the tremendous precipice; but when surveyed from the western side its foundation appears more solid, and it will require perhaps many ages to subvert the wonderful pile.

The immense size of many of the granite rocks of which this ridge is formed, and the rude and heterogeneous manner in which they lie one upon another, together with the wildness and extent of the surrounding panorama, overpower the mind with awe and astonishment at the grandeur of the operations of Nature. Towards the north is seen the top of Launceston Castle, also, in clear weather, the Bristol Channel and Lundy Island; to the south-east Plymouth, its Sound, and Mount Edgcumbe; and towards the south-west the Deadman Point and the English Channel, with the bleak midland hills of Devonshire and Cornwall.

A large rock-basin, of about three feet diameter and one foot deep, is on the summit of one of the eastern rocks of Kilmarth.
I would go for the rock basin alone, I love a rock basin.

From
The Cheesewring, Kilmarth Rocks and Trevethy Stone, Cornwall. Penny magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Jan 23, 1836, 28-29.

Tolven Holed Stone

...I propose to give a few hitherto unpublished particulars [of the Tolven stone]. It stands at the back of a small farmhouse in Tolven (or Tolvan) Cross, about half a mile from Gweek, on the road from Helston to Truro, and just at the intersection of that road, with a less important one connecting Constantine and Wendron.

The farmhouse was built in 1847 by a John Moyle, whose descendants still occupy it. At the time the house was built the surrounding countryside was wild moorland, overgrown with furze and bracken, and this was cleared by Moyle to make the present Tolven Cross Farm. The two adjoining farms - Upper Tolven and Lower Tolven - were already in existence at the time Moyle commenced to reclaim his little corner of moorland.

When he built the house the Tolven Stone was lying flat upon the moor at the intersection of the roads, and a few feet only from the back wall of the house, and the old man was struck with the idea that by raising it up on one of his edges he would be spared the necessity of building some three yards of the wall separating a little patch of garden from the farmyard, or rather, a pathway from the farmyard to his back-door. This he did, and the stone stands today in the place where the old man put it.

John Moyle died thirty years ago, but his daughter-in-law, who lived in the same house with the old man for some years previous to his death, is still living there with her daughter and grandson, the latter farming the land attached to the house.
One can't help thinking that the weirdness of the stone is the reason people walking on the ancient roads crossed at that spot (because it was an interesting and obvious landmark). But I'm not sure Mr Beesley would go for this theory. His theory is that the holed Men-An-Tol and this stone are holed because they're cross bases. That's a big stone to pick for a cross base though, you have to admit. He says I therefore leave my case in the hands of my readers, who, if they cannot accept my solution of the mystery, will, I feel sure, be tolerant. Ah if only there'd been the TMA Forum in those days. But no, you had to go and find a goose for a quill and boil up some ink, write it in your best handwriting and pop your exasperated response in the post. By which time you probably did feel quite tolerant. Ah they'd have loved the forum wouldn't they.

From 'What is the Men-an-tol?' by George J Beesley, in The Antiquary 8 (April 1912)

Rocking Stone Hill (Golcar)

The first druidical remain which I shall mention, is called the Rocking-Stone, and two different views thereof are exhibited at No. 1 and 2 of the etched plate attending these remarks.

It is situated so as to be a boundary mark between the two town-ships, Golcar and Slaighthwait in the parish of Huddresfield, on what is called Golcar-Hill, and gives the name of Hole-Stone Moor to the adjoining grounds.

The size of it is about ten feet and half long, nine feet four or five inches broad, and five feet three inches thick. It rests on so small a center, that at one particular point, a man may cause it to rock, though it has been damaged a little in this respect by some masons, who endeavoured to discover the principle on which so large a weight was made to move.
From 'Druidical Remains in or near the Parish of Halifax in Yorkshire, discovered and explained by the Rev. John Watson, MAFSA and Rector of Stockport in Cheshire', read at the Society of Antiquaries, Nov. 21, 1771. (Archaeologia v.2).

The grid reference is where the stone is marked on the 1880 map.

Turoe Stone

There is a local tradition that this stone once occupied a site other than that on which it now stands. It was said that up to about eighty years ago it stood at a rath near by known as the rath Feerwore. Some years ago Patrick Lyons who had been employed by the late Mr Dolphin of Turoe for 40 years a herd pointed out the exact spot was about 10 yards to the west of the rath called Feerwore where the stone once stood. Excavations were made there and some animal remains together with a cist were found. The contents of the cist are supposed to have been human remains indicating cremation and the animal remains a funeral feast.
This is from the Schools Collection of the 1930s. The excavations are reported in the The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, v 14 (1944).

Does anyone know what's happened with the stone? Did it go to the museum? Did it come back again? Is it still in that bizarre shed? The poor thing deserves a bit of respect.

Clogher (Stone Fort / Dun)

1930s schoolgirl Maura Cryan wrote so nicely and enthusiastically about this edifice for the National Folklore Collection's Schools project, I think it would be nice to reproduce her words here.
Situated on an eminence in the MacDermott's demesne, Clogher, is an old Fort or Fortification. From its location, the plan by which it is laid out, and the thickness of its surrounding walls, one comes to the conclusion that it must have at some time in early history being used for defence purposes. This fort is perfectly circular in shape having a very fine entrance about six feet wide. Enclosed by those walls which are about nine feet wide is a plot of ground about twenty perches in extent, which is uniformly raised to the centre; thereby having what might be termed a nice foot path all around by the inner base of its boundary walls.

There are three underground tunnels in this enclosed area. One, which is by far the longest, has both an entrance and an exit, with a distance of at least twenty yards between. To explore this tunnel a light is required as it leads for most of the way under the main wall. The other two tunnels have only one opening and might be best compared to fairly large sized rooms. One of the latter tunnels is in the enclosed area itself. The other has an entrance under the wall very convenient to the main entrance.

The walls which are about ten feet high have on the inside platform (part of the wall itself) about six feet from the ground which evidently goes to show it was used for defence although local history does not give us much information on the matter. Although another feature which creates the curiosity of the many sight-seers who annually visit it are the huge rocks perfectly placed in position some of them set as high as five or six feet from the ground.

To prove its antiquity, this relic of earlier days, was handed over years ago by its owner to the Royal Antiquarian Society for preservation. This body spent a large amount of money in putting the entire place in order: great care being taken to make no change in its original plan. To further protect from trespass or damage a substantial wire fence was placed around it leaving between the fence and its outer wall a four-foot wall for sight-seers to use. I understand during the time the Society was engaged in its reconstruction among things found were bones and some gold ornaments which were sent to Dublin for expert examination.

This fort is beautifully situated on the top of a hill whose sides being nicely wooded add greatly to its appearance.

Carn Brea (Causewayed Enclosure)

Nighthawking - not a recent phenomena (since morons have always existed). I liked his restrained anger:
The hearths and benches of this interesting [hut] circle, which I left complete in the evening, were destroyed before 5.30 the next morning - no doubt by some of those who, fancying that no one could be foolish enough to dig unless he was finding treasure, haunted us during the whole summer, and destroyed much that would otherwise have been of permanent interest. One day I found they had removed the turf from another circle, for the sake of destroying the cooking-hole - a procedure that almost justifies language that would relight the fire.
From the Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall v13 (1895-8) - in an article by Thurstan Collins Peter.

Three Brothers of Grugith (Cist)

Borlase's description from Naenia Cornubiae:
But the most interesting object in the parish of St. Keverne still remains to be described. It consists of a half natural, half artificial, dolmen or cromlech, situated on the estate of Grugith, on the Crowza downs, - a wild marshy tract, strewn with diallage rocks, each of them many tons in weight. In the locality it is known as the "Three Brothers of Grugith."

In the case of this monument, a natural rock in situ, 8 feet 8 inches long by six feet broad, and 2 feet 6 inches high, has been selected as the side-stone of the cromlech. At a distance of 2 feet 3 inches from it, and parallel to its northern side, a second stone 7 feet 4 inches long, and averaging from six to eighteen inches broad, has been set up on edge. A third stone, measuring 8 feet 3 inches by 5 feet 3 inches, has then been laid across the two.

A Kist-Vaen, open at the ends, has thus been formed, 2 feet 3 inches deep, i.e. from the under side of the covering stone to the natural surface of the ground around it. Having obtained permission from Lord Falmouth to search the sepulchral monuments on his property in this district, the author caused a pit to be sunk between the supporters of the 'Quoit.' Nothing, however, was discovered besides a small flint chip, and the fact that a similar pit had been sunk in the same spot to a depth of four feet from the surface, previous to the erection of the structure. This was, doubtless, a grave like that at Lanyon, which, if it had not been subsequently disturbed, had, at all events, lost all trace of its ancient occupant.
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This hill, it has a meaning that is very important for me, but it's not rational. It's beautiful, but when you look, there's nothing there. But I'd be a fool if I didn't listen to it.

-- Alan Garner.


...I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn...

-- William Wordsworth.


I'm currently mad on visiting Anglo-Saxon and Norman carvings and enjoy the process of drawing them:
http://wiltshirewandering.blogspot.co.uk/

and I've been helping digitise the Schools' Collection of the National Folklore Collection of Ireland... you can also at
http://www.duchas.ie/en

Some interesting websites with landscape and fairy folklore:
http://earthworks-m.blogspot.co.uk
http://faeryfolklorist.blogspot.co.uk

and my latest obsession for some reason, mermaids
http://forteanfindings.blogspot.co.uk/

My TMA Content: