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

Get the TMA Images feed
Serenissima's Latest Posts

Latest Posts

The Thornborough Henges — News

Quarrying at henge site rejected


"Plans to quarry gravel from part of Britain's biggest prehistoric site were rejected yesterday but the construction company Tarmac is to appeal.
A full public inquiry is now likely over the fate of land surrounding Thornborough Henges, three giant discs encircled by earthen ramparts which have survived from a complex of eight erected around 5000BC in the Vale of York." - The Guardian, 22nd Feb 2006, Martin Wainwright http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/story/0,,1715002,00.html

Seven Stones of Hordron Edge (Stone Circle) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Seven Stones of Hordron Edge</b>Posted by Serenissima

Carl Wark & Hathersage Moor — Images

<b>Carl Wark & Hathersage Moor</b>Posted by Serenissima

Lud's Church (Natural Rock Feature) — Images

<b>Lud's Church</b>Posted by Serenissima

Derbyshire — Links

Debyshire Archaeological Society


Details about the Derbyshire Archaeological Society, founded in 1878, with events, publications, and membership details.

Nine Stones Close & Robin Hood's Stride — Links

Julie Woodhouse Landscape Photography


Good photo here of Nine Stone Close

Eyam Moor — Links

Julie Woodhouse Landscape Photography


A good photo of a multiplr-pocked cup-stone on Eyam Moor

Julie Woodhouse Landscape Photography


Nice image of Wet Withens

Darley Dale (Ancient Trackway) — Fieldnotes

Whilst you're talking about St Helen's Church, Stubob, you might want to mention the Sheila-na-Gig inside the church, the Celtic carvings in the porch, and the bizarrely carved tombstones in the graveyard, which include pentacles and skull-and-crossbones. The yew-tree is indeed very ancient, and was old when the builders of the church rested under it's shade.
Is there any reason that 'St Helen's' churches often have a prehistory connection, such as being built on a neolithic earthwork or have standing stones? Or is it just me?
Sorry, I don't know what your markers are Stubub, but I'll look out for them when I'm next that way (I live near Matlock).

Hob Hurst's House (Burial Chamber) — Fieldnotes

I visited this site first in about 1989, when it was in rather a delapidated (literally) condition and had only a low wire fence around it. Visiting it for a second time in August 2002 I was pleased to find a proper fence and stile around it, therefore keeping the non-seeing from walking all over it, and that the shape of the tomb was much more clearly defined. English Heritage have now also provided an interpretation board', which explains that the poor state of the site is all due to Thomas Bateman's excavations in 1853, and not because English Heritage have neglected it. Ho-hum.
It was very overgrown with ferns and heather in August though. I shall return in Winter methinks.
A curious incident; I had not met a single person all that morning, walking over Gibbet Moor from the Robin Hood pub, but at Hob Hurst's House there was a couple; a middle-aged man and a small, younger, far-Eastern looking woman. The man was in the middle of the enclosure pleading repeatedly with the woman to climb over the stile into the midst of heather and waist-high ferns and see the ancient remains (which, to be honest, aren't exactly impressive). The woman, who was dressed in a skirt and had bare-legs, was understandably not going to do it, and the man started calling in Chinese (or maybe Japanese - hey, I'm no expert) for her to please please please see the 'wonderful' Hob Hurst's House. Eventually he gave in, and he petulantly led her off back across the moors.
If you were that man - shame on you sir!

Hob Hurst's House (Burial Chamber) — Folklore

I found this at www.yewgrove.demon.co.uk/spirits/faery.htm (The SONG - Spirits of the North Gathering - website)

"There was once an old woman who lived on the Eastern moors of the Peak District who offered shelter to Hob Hurst when he was in need. Whilst Hob was with her the woman was careful not to look at him for Hobs were known to be very shy, but when she was weaving she would often catch a glimpse of him from the corner of her eye. He was little with dark skin and gleaming eyes. She would often hear his singing which sounded like the wind blowing through the cotton grass of the moors, and when he was not singing it was laughter she could hear. His laughter was like the bubbling, chuckling streams that populate the moors. One day when the woman was ill, she was collecting water from the well when Hob disappeared into the rock that was near the stream and stayed there for a while. Upon drinking the water she was made well and the water tasted especially good to the woman ever after."
(c) Ben Littler

There are many references to the fairy Hob in Derbyshire, apart from Hob Hurst's House here. For example, there is another Hob Hurst's House in Deep Dale, south of King Sterndale.
It is said that Derbyshire farmers used to put a bowl of cream out to appease Hob, who like a brownie would then help with little odd jobs around the farm. If you didn't please him though, he would make mischief.
Hob is probably from the same root as Rob, and the many Robin Hood legends in Derbyshire may actually refer to the fairy Hob instead, a 'green man' of the forest.
It should be noted that sometimes Hob is depicted as a helpful giant, not a small creature, and 'Hurst' actually means a giant.

Hob Hurst was a good-hearted fairy who used to live in the forest now part of the Chatsworth Estate. He did all he could to be helpful, but wasn't really all that good at it. For example, one day he attached himself to a local cobbler who was travelling with his wares along the pack-horse track that goes by Hob Hurst's house. Hob followed the cobbler home and all the way implored with him that he could make shoes for the cobbler. The cobbler relented, and Hob Hurst set to work.
Hob made shoes alright, but he made them so quickly and so shoddily that all the cobbler could do to keep up was to throw the shoes out of the window as fast as Hob made them.
Hence the Derbyshire expression about something made too quickly: "Its bin done faster than Hob Hurst can chuck shoes out o' t' winder"

Wirksworth I (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

I came across this enigmatic stone whilst following the prehistoric trackway known later as 'The Portway' on the section from Wirksworth up to Gallows Knoll, along 'Chariot Way' (sic), to Grangeway, then through Winster to Harthill Moor (with its Castle Ring Iron Age fort, Nine Stones Close, Robin Hood's Stride, and the Hermits Cave.
Surely it was used as a marker for travellers on that ancient route, as they ascended the steep hill to within sight of the ancient settlement at Harborough Rocks?
Such I felt, as I saw it standing in the field, a permanence in time that extends millions of years more back when you examine it's limestone heart and see its composition of coral reef shells.

Wirksworth I (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Wirksworth I</b>Posted by Serenissima

Flag Fen (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Images

<b>Flag Fen</b>Posted by Serenissima

Five Wells (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

The good news is - there is now a right of access to Five Wells! Go to the end of Pillwell Lane (off the B-road from Chelmorton to Flagg) and follow the news signposts.
About time! From the chambered tomb you can see Minninglow, Eyam Moor (Wet Withins), Stanton Moor, and - unfortunately - the rape of the Mother that is the refuse tip and Topley Pike Quarry. Grrr!

Five Wells (Chambered Tomb) — Images

<b>Five Wells</b>Posted by Serenissima<b>Five Wells</b>Posted by Serenissima

Seven Stones of Hordron Edge (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Prevented from seeing it by a Range Rover man bullying us off of his master's land.
"Where do you think you're going?" he bawled
"To pay respect to the stones" black cloaked we replied.
"Dressed like that? You'll get lost on the moors and die from exposure" all care and concern he led us back to the road.
Thanks Mr Range Rover man.

Barbrook IV (Ring Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Tick.
Seen it.
Shall I bother to return?
No.

Barbrook III (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Ha! Fifty elves dancing hand in hand, round and round, and me at the centre, dizzy, enchanted, trapped!

Barbrook II (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

An embanked stone circle restored. Restored?
It doesn't feel right.
It might be exactly right, and it is me that is out of kilter, but again again again it doesn't feel right.
More reminiscent of hut circles on Holyhead and in Cornwall, I imagine a conical thatched roof over my head and a secular purpose: the moot-hall for tribal chieftains, or the place to give tribute to the overlord.
But not a sacred space.
Then again: there is definitely signs of a cist, covered by a cup-marked stone, so no doubt at some time at least one of our ancestors was buried here.
But too puzzling. Too restored. Not right.

Barbrook I (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

A freezing cold place at the Winter Solstice, the sun standing still almost defeated by the bright, shiny, slate-grey clouds and flurries of snow.
Trying to light candles in the biting wind, the children stamping their feet to feel them, and the offering of wine left un-corked and frozen.
On the moorsides hereabouts our ancestors lived and toiled, remains of their field systems still evident. It is hoped that the climes were more clement then.
I notice a scar across the middle of the circle; a caesarian cut to birth the Earth Mother's mystery into the hands of the archaeologists. To learn more they should be standing as we are, reverently, shivering, at the turn of the sun and welcoming the youthful Mabon back into the world.

Doll Tor (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Hidden in a plantation of foreign trees that are alien to the landscape, this tiny circle has been much ravished.
But the feeling of ancient presence prevades it, whispering of dark, shadowy landscapes and torch-lit funeral processions in honour of a powerful, dead, queen.
The hairs on the back of your neck creep, and you turn around quickly and just miss seeing a primeval human darting behind a tree.
Spooky!

Lanyon Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Visited the quoit in an autumn gale, the capstone poised ready to launch itself onto the surf of swelling grass.
Felt like I could ride that board to Men an Tol and out into the Atlantic!

Carn Euny Fogou & Village — Fieldnotes

Visited at the same time as a 'Harry Safari' minibus full of the elderly and foreign. Well, why not; but I observed that the not so nimble were struggling bending down in the fogou and the non-English speakers were somewhat baffled by Harry's colloquialisms and interpretations of the site (and listening in, so was I). Still, the smiles in their eyes told me that the site had touched them with its mystery, as it did for me.
Rushed on to Men an Tol etc. before the minibus got there. I like people to enjoy the places so beloved to me, but I don't like being part of a tourist attraction as I perform my ceremonies or just sit and meditate. Sorry Harry!

The Merry Maidens (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Dancing with the maidens at new moon on the autumnal equinox, raising the energy to heal a world reeling from The Lightning Struck Tower(s) across the ocean.
A merry dance of life amongst death; the joy of here and now, and place and time.
I finished by laying down in the centre, in the Shape of the Cross, and clung to the earth as the stars carried on dancing in a circle above me.
Returned to Treverven campsite and a celebratory feast of the Maiden's blackberries, and scrumpy, in our tent.

Arbor Low (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

I came for the Midwinter Solstice dawn and marched around the broken clock face beating my bodhran drum. Round and round, winding in the sun, pulling it over the horizon, wrestling with it like the Old Man of the Sea.
Soft light on recumbrant stones that felt like fossilised clouds which had fallen to Earth - so solidly grounded and yet so weightless.
An old woman lays a sprig of holly on the altar in the cove. Red blood berries dripping onto white stone.
The midwinter sun is rising. Hallelujah! Oh Ai! Oh Ai! The Goddess's consort has returned to waken her from the dead. Spring will come again and surely melt the slabs of ice laid out like a frozen splash at Arbor Low.

Mam Tor (Sacred Hill) — Fieldnotes

Cling to the Mother lest the winds blow you cartwheeling over Castleton, tossed like the hang-gliders below their flimsy gashes of colour against a perfect blue sky.
Cling to the Mother, like you clung to your own mother's breast, and press your ear to the grass to hear the mountain's heartbeat.
Cling to the Mother, to hold on to her before she slips away down the slope, her body crushed up for the smoking cement works you see below.

Five Wells (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Sitting just sitting on a sunny summers day high above the Peak District her patchworked soft rounded beauty laid out before me.
The ancient slumbering stones behind me like frozen surf. An entrance to the Otherworld where centuries seem like minutes and if you drink the wine you have to stay for ever.
Bliss!
Serenissima hasn't added a profile


My TMA Content: