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

Saw Mills Stone Circles

Stone Circle


This is speculative at best, that the original stone circles existed is not really in doubt. Documentary evidence survives from several contemporary sources, two of whom wrote books in the 19th century. Both books were written by local women, Clara King-Warry and Elizabeth Pearce. Pearce wrote her memoir in 1805, before much of the major quarrying took place on this part of the island, she names one of the circles as being called The Frolic . King Warry wrote several books about a century later and sites the circles as having stood either side of Easton Lane ( now Easton road ), she says they were removed and due to the unwillingness of the local workmen were not destroyed but built into the walls along the lane. The sawmills name comes from the name of a now destroyed inn.
This brings us to the stones in the photos I took, they are in the right place and are much larger than any other stones I have seen built into old walls on the island. I have not seen all of the dry stone walling on Portland, there are miles of it, but these are unusual inclusions. Portland stone is and was expensive stuff and large pieces of it are not usually used in this way. Portlanders are a superstitious people, the word rabbit is still taboo, and I would not at all be surprised at the reluctance of workmen to destroy ancient stones .
The only other place where such stones exist is in another wall close to a site described by a visiting antiquarian called Fido Lunettes. Lunettes describes a place near the Portland young offenders institute, which was the original convict prison on the island. He visited the site in 1824, before the prison was built, he descibes an ancient British eartwork called Arun's Green. He further describes some standing stones with a large flat stone on top which he calls a cromlech.
There can be little doubt that standing stones, circles, barrows etc did exist on this ancient island, but due to the quarrying and military activities in the 19th century much of it has been destroyed or moved or reused.
formicaant Posted by formicaant
30th September 2009ce
Edited 6th November 2010ce

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