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Mayburgh Henge

Circle henge

<b>Mayburgh Henge</b>Posted by postmanImage © Chris Bickerton
Nearest Town:Penrith (3km NNW)
OS Ref (GB):   NY519284 / Sheet: 90
Latitude:54° 38' 53.67" N
Longitude:   2° 44' 43.81" W

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Visited on 24th May 2011 on the way back from Long Meg and Her Daughters.

Information board says that this huge henge has a circumference of 150 metres and was built from 5 million cobblestones brought from the nearby River Eamont many of which have now been removed for building materials. It varies in height from 4 metres to 7 metres and has no internal or external ditch. There were 4 large stones at its centre though only one remains. There were also 4 stones standing at a single 7 metre entrance to the east - these too are gone.

The nearby King Arthur's Round Table can be clearly seen from Mayburgh Henge.
tjj Posted by tjj
28th May 2011ce

I much preferred this site to Arthur's Round Table. Probably due to the still standing high sides of the henge plus the standing sone in the middle. Very pretty place and easily accessed. I am amazed that it has survived so well over all these years. Will visit again one day.
Although a bit off topic, whilst in the area, I would recommend a visit to St Andrew's church in Penrith. In the grave yard, to the right of the church main doors, is a Viking 'Hog Back' grave. I 'discovered' this by pure accident - what a happy bunny I was!!
Posted by CARL
17th March 2010ce
Edited 19th March 2010ce

Having read Fitzcoraldo's tales of stone hunting in Shap, I was well keen to revisit the area, and this was a logical place to go, it's so close to car access it would have been silly not to.

We had time to ponder the stone, where did it come from? Was it carried by glaciers? How far did the Hengineers have to shift it?

But then my attention was drawn to the small prannets of the bank, which poke through in patches all over. How many are there? How long did it take? Were they brought after the central stone, or was it brought after them? Are there any buried that might have cup marks on them? Why only one entrance?

Then the henge started playing tricks, like nicking my camera twice, sending a bull to come snort, and generally behaving in a Loki-esque manner. It's got character.
Hob Posted by Hob
31st August 2004ce

[visited 31/5/4] I've wanted to visit this ever since I'd read about it, an 'irish' henge in England next to a classic style henge, how could I resist. Access is fairly good, you can park pretty much next to the henge and get in through a gate. So, I set off from my car almost at a run, straight up the west edge of the well preserved bank of rocks and pebbles. As I reached the top I looked down into the gloomy centre, the low sun not really lighting this place with its large tree and high banks. I inspected the remaining stone defiant in its solitude, Burl reckons it could be the last stone of a giant four poster, I remain reckonless.

A henge without an inner ditch is a weird one to see for the first time and I'm still left pondering who it was that built this. Was it irish traders in the Lakes backyard, maybe a permitted intrusion or was this a local tribute to a distant race or religion? Whoever it was this slightly foreboding henge is well worth a visit.
juamei Posted by juamei
27th June 2004ce

I just wish that all those who take time to visit Meg would come here too! A mere 10 minutes drive (take the Shap A6 turning at the roundabout into Eamont Bridge and the first right at the pub. It is signed posted for Arthur's Round Table and Mayburgh) and you come across the most amazing place. I come up here as often as I can, just because it is the most beautiful of places (if you can ignore the motorway that is!)

I have never seen another person on all my visits and have always just wallowed in the beauty of this site. I try to visualise how it would've looked before the other stones were removed - and look over at Arthur's Round Table and make the connection between the 2 sites. Quite difficult as you have to sort of squint the houses out of view!

I urge you all to visit - I went up there again last week and it was frosty and bitterly cold - and all the more amazing than ever.
Vicster Posted by Vicster
5th January 2004ce
Edited 5th January 2004ce

I love this sheltered snug. Visited at 9am on this sunny spring morning. Can't escape the perpetual motorway noise, but no-one else was around except for a skiving postie in the car park.

Some evidence of swings on the trees, small bonfires and seats made of stones. Anyone remember Murun Buchstansinger?

pebblesfromheaven Posted by pebblesfromheaven
14th April 2003ce

Visited with MushroomSi and Ursula on a tour of a few of the Cumbrian sites at Winter Solstice. This hadn't been a planned visit, we were driving past when I pointed it out to Si, who as it turned out hadn't visited before. The car was quickly turned round and we paid a visit. It was worth it just to hear how delighted Si was to be here! I've been here quite a few times now but am always amazed as the inner bank comes in to view. Once again I found my mind racing with interpretations of this site in it's original use. IronMan Posted by IronMan
6th January 2003ce
Edited 24th February 2003ce

When we stopped here on yule morn, i didnt expect to be impressed as the close prox of the large noisy road, so when i got the the top the henge bank and looked on my first words were "F***in hell" the sight of the flat surface and the surrounding henge and the stone in the middle blew me away. I LOVED this place, even with the road it is an athmospheric place, i had visions of how it may have been used, tourchlights burning, singing, processions, rites and rituals who knows but a great place, one of the best for me. Made me go WOW! A special place. Posted by mushroom si
23rd December 2002ce

Mayburgh (21.8.2002)

400m walk from King Arthur's Round Table. Or if you prefer you can park very close, below where the main road (the A6) goes over the motorway. The A6 now has a big Millennium Stone (you know, a big stone plonked somewhere to celebrate the Millennium) between the main road and the slip road down to Mayburgh, so it's probably even easier now to spot how to get to Mayburgh.

Very serious looking dowsers and dog walkers were all around when I visited, and I found it a bit weird because of that. But it was still a physically impressive site even if I couldn't get much sense of calm or history.
pure joy Posted by pure joy
24th November 2002ce

In terms of sheer size Mayburgh Henge is an awesome monument.
However, whereas the nearby King Arthurs Round Table is next to the main road through Eamont Bridge and at the centre of the daily hubub, Mayburgh stands just metres away from the motorway yet is alone and abandoned. This is a real shame as it is a mind-boggling construction, containing an estimated 5 million cobblestones in a bank that stands nearly 6 metres high. At it's centre is a single standing stone, one of an original four, there were also four others inside the entrance to East that looks across to the round table.
Chris Collyer Posted by Chris Collyer
12th May 2002ce

Mayburgh henge never fails to impress. On this day the busy traffic sped past on the M6, Easter bank holiday being well under way, but the solitude of this site *still* impresses. I came with two friends who'd never been before, and both were overwhelmed by it's size and the thought of this site being used by the ancients. IronMan Posted by IronMan
2nd April 2002ce
Edited 19th December 2002ce

I had been working for the best part of a week in Blackpool during the illuminations in November 1999. I was staying in a cold apartment, with the wind and the rain howling against a damp net-curtained window every night.
Travelling back home, I was so happy to stop here.
The henge at King Arthur's looks almost too landscaped, but surely retains much of it's strength, despite the close proximity of the roads. I didn't stay too long.
I went over to Mayburgh. The sun was low and there was an eerie gloom inside the henge - those bare trees and the great pebbled edge surrounding that lonely stone. I remember a feeling of vastness and peace and I'd like to see this place at different times of the day.
Posted by winterjc
27th November 2001ce
Edited 1st January 2016ce

Arrived first at King Arthur's Round Table, got out of the car and the first thing we noticed was how cold it was compared to Long and Little Meg, still that wasn't going to put us off.
Walked onto King Arthur's and was instantly taken, tried to visualise the whole henge, kept walking round accompanied by some very inquisitive lambs.Excellent.
Walked the small way to Mayburgh Henge, past the christian millenium abomination, went up the rise at the side of the site and was totally blew away looking in to the site.
This place is so amazing, not even the nearby M6 traffic could spoil the whole thing.
Posted by CAOMHIN
25th February 2001ce
Edited 1st January 2016ce

Great favourite of mine. As me and Tess climbed the embankment and dropped into the bowl Tess gave out a "wow, didn't expect this!"
Sums it up really.
Plans afoot to dynamite the christian pastiche into rubble, any takers?
Love and Life
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
20th November 2000ce
Edited 1st January 2016ce

The eternal power of these henges is emphasised by the fact that they are right next to the M6. Not even that atrocious proximity can destroy the vibe. After the beauty and peace of nearby Long Meg and Castlerigg, I almost gave these sites a miss but was so glad I didn't. Recently, Mayburgh nearly fell victim to a Christian "millennium" monument that they were planning to erect right within the henge. Short-sighted infants. Posted by Summer
9th June 2000ce
Edited 1st January 2016ce


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In his 1829 work entitled 'The History of Initiation 3 courses of lectures', the masonic writer, George Oliver described Mayburgh and Arthur's Round Table. He then goes on to quote an anecdote related to him by the late Mr Briggs of Kendal.
Not many years since, an old man in the neighbourhood told me, there were four stones at the entrance, and he had heard the old folks say that there had been four stones in the centre, but he could not recollect them. Those at the entrance he remembered well, and they were destroyed by the landlord of the public house by the side of Arthur's Round Table, and his servant man. But, added he, I think they did wrong to meddle with these ancient things, for one of the men soon hanged himself, and the other lost his reason. What must have been the veneration for this place in the days of its greatest glory, when such a striking relic of superstitious respect is still fostered among the peasantry of the neighbourhood!
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
9th November 2006ce
Edited 20th November 2006ce


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Details of henge on Pastscape

Mayburgh Henge is a Late Neolithic henge monument surviving as an earthwork, one of three in close proximity between the Rivers Eamont and Lowther. The earthworks were surveyed in 1988 and some geophysical survey also undertaken. The earthwork is defined by an almost circular bank which is up to 45 metres wide and 7.3 metres high, surrounding an internal area up to 90 metres in diameter. The bank is made up almost entirely of water-worn stones. Unusually for a site of this type there is no surrounding ditch. A single entrance exists on the eastern side. The interior is level, and a single standing stone is located near the centre. The geophysical survey identified several anomalies in the interior, although interpretation is difficult. A magnetic anomaly at the base of, and concentric to, the inner side of the bank could be a narrow ditch, or a negative lynchet associated with ploughing in the interior. An erratic series of pit-like features could be burials, pits, or former stone settings. One group is clustered to the south east of the standing stone, in an area where Dugdale recorded a stone setting in the later 17th century. In the early 18th century, William Stukeley suggested that there had been two concentric stone circles, but the anomalies do not seem to corroborate this. No excavations are known to have occurred, but Stukeley recorded that a "brass celt" had been found there, while in 1879 part of a stone axe was found near the entrance. As with the other two sites in the group, classification as a henge is not without its difficulties, but at present offers the most plausible interpretation. The function of such large monuments is not fully understood, although it is thought that they played a role in social or ritual activities, perhaps involving trade or astronomical observations. As part of the millennium celebrations in 2000 a large stone monolith was erected nearby. The monument which is now in the care of English Heritage.
Chance Posted by Chance
4th January 2015ce

Near this vill (Eamont Bridge) are two curious monuments of antiquity. One on the south side thereof called Maybrough Castle, almost the shape of a horse shoe, having the entrance on the east side leading into an area 88 yards in diameter. It hath consisted of a single rampier of stones, of which the rubbish now lies loose in ruins, partly grown over with wood. Many of the larger stones were taken away in the reign of King Hen. 6 for the repair of Penrith Castle. Near the middle, towards the western part, is a large stone, upwards three yards in height: formerly there have been several others. It seems to have been, like many other circular inclosures, a place of worship in the times of the ancient druids.
The other is at the south east end of the village, by the side on the left hand going to Penrith, called the Round Table; being a round trench, with two entrances opposite to each other at the north and south. The diameter of the circle within the ring is about 120 feet. It seems to have been a justing-place. The country people call it King Arthur's Round Table, and perhaps the knights, after justing and exercise, might dine here.

From: The History and Antiquities of the Counties of Westmorland and Cumberland
By Joseph Nicolson, Richard Burn
Published 1777
Available via Google Books

I suppose it is worth noting that Nicholson makes no mention of the Little Table.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
7th June 2007ce
Edited 1st January 2016ce

The faithful Page he mounts his steed,
And soon he cross'd green Irthing's mead,
Dash'd o'er Kirkoswald's verdant plain,
And Eden barr'd his course in vain.
He pass'd red Penrith's Table Round,
For feats of chivalry renown'd.
Left Mayburgh's mound and stones of power,
By Druid's raised in magic hour,
And traced the Eamont's winding way,
Till Ulfo's lake beneath him lay.
A verse from Sir Walter Scott's poem "The Bridal Of Triermain."
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
21st September 2005ce
Edited 1st January 2016ce

The stone in the centre of the henge is one of four that existed. There was an additional four stones flanking the entrance.
A bronze and a stone axe were found within the henge.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
23rd November 2002ce


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Internet Archive

"Mayburgh and King Arthur's Round Table" by C W Dymond (1890).

The text might not have anything new for you, but the carefully scanned in illustrations are superb and well worth a look.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
13th February 2010ce

Megaliths Deciphered

Because I consider myself to be a fairly open-minded fella, I will not describe this interpretation as barmy, that would wrong of me as I have put forward a couple of barmy interpretations of things myself in my time.
I leave you to decide.
I particularly like the kangaroo and the penguin.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
15th January 2005ce

Northern Earth

Troubles surrounding the Millennium celebrations at Mayburgh.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th September 2004ce

Northern Earth

Robert W E Farrah's interpretation of the sacred landscape around Mayburgh Henge and its possible orientation towards Blencathra.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
19th May 2004ce

Mayburgh panorama

360 Degree Panorama of Mayburgh Henge.
Chris Collyer Posted by Chris Collyer
22nd February 2004ce

Megalithic Walks

Posted by winterjc
11th June 2002ce