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

The Merry Maidens

Stone Circle


... it may be as well to remark that at this place there are most distinct traditions of a battle. The author, recently, spent several days in examining the ground, and collecting these traditions.

An old man informed him that the soldiers who died in the great fight, (which lasted several days), were buried in a long trench (not included in the plan) on the slope of a hill to the eastward of the village, but that when this trench was dug over a few years since, no bones were found.

Another story related that a vault immediately beneath the farm yard at Boleit contained the bodies of the slain, but "when this shall be discovered," added the old man,"'tis said that day will be the Judgment." The inhabitants were in consequence rather timid, when the author proposed to dig in search of the place.

The "Pipers", by the same tradition, represent the positions of the chieftains in front of their respective armies; and a "wise man," reported to be living in "Buryan church-town," has it on record, that their names were Howel and Athelstane.

In confirmation of the story of the battle, the word Boleit, pronounced Bollay, has been said to signify the "House of the slaughter," from Bo or Bod, "a house" or "a grave," and Ladh, "a killing." Bo-lait, "a milk house" looks perhaps a more likely derivation; but the name Goon Rith which designates the land to the west of the circle, and where a third great stone is placed, is, undoubtedly, the "Red Downs," a name which, as there is no appearance of that colour in the soil, looks strangely as if they had once been "bathed in blood." [...]
From William Copeland Borlase's 'Naenia Cornubiae' (1879).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd April 2015ce

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