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

Miscellaneous Posts by fitzcoraldo

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Showing 1-20 of 308 miscellaneous posts. Most recent first | Next 20

Seaty Hill (Artificial Mound)

On the top of Seaty Hill is a shallow ditch and bank enclosing a low mound 66ft in diameter.
On excavtion it was found that 2 holes had been dug into the mound, one of which contained a crouched burial. Raistrick classified the mound and burial as Bronze age.
13 secondary burials had been inserted into the suface of the mound and were thought to be early Iron Age. A bone pipe was found in one of these burials. The pipe had been fashioned from a sheeps tibia which was perforated with three finger holes.

Archaeology of Malham Moor
Arthur Raistrick and Paul F. Holmes

King Arthur's Round Table (Henge)

Regarding Hob's photo
In Mayburgh and King Arthurs Round Table by C.W. Dymond CWAAS 1890.

In the inn yard, serving as a water butt, is a circular tank of red sandstone, 38ins in diameter and about 36ins in depth, which has been called "King Arthur's Drinking-cup." About this object, as many another, a baseless story has been started which, unless checked, may in time, become, by repetition, a fixed tradition of the spot. I find that even some antiquarians have been misled by confiding too easily in statements made to them, to the effect that this tank was dug up on the site of the Round Table; nay, that it has been found in the very centre thereof. I myself was told this improbable tale, till on closely cross-questioning my informant,-the same who had set the story afloat, - he acknowleged that he knew nothing about it; and that he had stated as fact that which he only supposed to be so. The aforesaid man-the most ancient authority in the village, having lived there for more than 60 years-testified that it had been in the inn yard, (though not in the same position) as long as he could remember. of course, this tank has never really had any connection with the earthwork over the way.

Burn Moor Complex

The Megaliths

Heedless, unheeded of the years they stand;
The rain drips off their chins and lichens spread
A moist green skin along each stony hand
That gropes among the bones of the grey dead.

They did not see the forests flow and fall -
Junipers blue wave by the fellside shore -
Nor barley batten by the coddling wall,
Nor purple ploughland swipe across the moor.

They hold death in them. Skulls have moulded ears
That deaf remain to curlew, crow and dove.
The human winds blow past them; each one fears
The hoarded ache of malignant love.

Norman Nicholson
Selected Poems
Faber & Faber

The Fylingdales Stone (Carving)


Three thousand springs tombed beneath the peat,
each autumn spreads another blanket
to muffle the curlew's sobs,
the pipits all.

One feckless fag end thumbed into the wind
and flame rips away your shroud;
leaves you nude staring up
at clouds.

In a carbonised land of blackened ling,
Saxon dykes, Danish tracks, alum roads,
tank ruts, a scatter of roasted adders
and bird silence.

Astonished at the sun, at the lenses, the men
measure your incised lines, the questions:
boundary stone? map to find Orion?
stone speech?

Or just some hide-clad priest's contraption,
to be unveiled on sacred days to steer
the same old shivering fear safe
into his hands

Harry Nicholson July 2007

Voice of the Moors - Magazine of the North York Moors Association.
Issue 90 Autumn-Winter 2007

Potter Fell (Stone Circle)

An almost overgrown circle of stones sited on a small natural ridge appears to be the kerb of a mound10-20cm high. How much of this mound is natural is unclear.

Prehistoric Monuments of the Lake District.
Tom Clare

Tullakeel (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Regarding the Drawing by Sir J.Y. Simpson.
Plate XXVII is a rough sketch of a large slab cut with cups and rings, and groups of circles apparently with radial grooves similar to those of Scotland and England, which was found in the western county of Kerry. A cast of it has been for many years in the museum of the Royal Irish Academy. My friend Dr Stokes states to me that he has seen a similar ring or circle cutting the rocks in situ a mile or two from the celebrated Staigue Fort in the same county.

Archaic Sculpturings of Cups, Circles, &c. upon Stones and Rocks in Scotland, England & other Countries
Sir J.Y. Simpson, Bart, MD, DCL
Published by
Edmonston & Douglas
Edinburgh 1867

La Blanche Pierre (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The stone used to be the largest in the island (2.5m) until it was attacked by a farmer with a sledgehammer.
"This action, amazingly, was not at that stage illegal but he was forced to abandon his rape of the island's heritage because of massive outcry"

Jersey in Prehistory
Mark Patton
La Haule Books

Park Place (Chambered Tomb)

Cet ancien monument, ces pierres, ces autels,
Ou le sang des humains offert an sacrifice
Ruissela, pour Dieux qu'enfantiot le caprice;
Ce monument, sans prix par son antiquite...

written to commemorate the movement of the monument from Jersey to Henley upon Thames

Republic of Malta (Country)

Various useful WWW links for Malta
The Maltese webring with all sorts of useful stuff
Heritage Malta's website. Lots of information plus that all important shop where you can book your place for a tour of the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum – BOOK EARLY!
The excellent Maltese Public Transport Association website. Includes timetables and specific information on how to get to historic sites.
Daniel Cilia's superb website
C. Savona-Ventura's articles
Dr. Anton Bugeja's excellent website
Mario Vassallo's Sun Worship and the Megalithic Temples website.
Another interesting website from Mario Vassallo on the Planning and layout of the Maltese temples
OTS Foundation website
Maltas Premier Beer – apparently it's bottom fermented, that explains a lot!

Seal Howe (Cairn(s))

To add to the quotes by Paulus here is some more of what William Greenwell had to say about Seal Howe.

A cairn at the head of Oddendale, called Seal Howe, was also examined; some other cairns very much destroyed are in the immediate vicinity, and about 300 yards to the west is a double circle of stones. The place is traditionally spoken of as the site of a great battle, and there are extensive mounds of stone and earth thrown up as if for the purpose of entrenchment. Between the cairn and the circle there runs an ancient road which, following the high ground as much as possible and avoiding the valleys, was one of the main lines of route from Clifton to Borrow Bridge...

The position which this cairn occupies is very striking, and the scene, as viewed on the afternoon when the mound was opened, was one not easily to be forgotten by the explorers. As the sun lowered towards the mountains in the west a flood of golden light was thrown upon the moorland up to our very feet, turning the purple of the heather with a richer hue, and adding a more than common warmth to the red and grey lichen-covered boulders of Shap granite which lie like flocks of sheep upon the turf. Clouds, themselves aglow with the level rays of the setting sun, threw broad patches of shade upon the illuminated ground, and made the sunshine more vivid by the contrast. To the east was the broad and heavy range of Cross Fell, fronted and broken by the three sharp cones of Murton, Knock, and Dufton Pikes, and over which,at its northern end, the far distant mountains of Cheviot were just to be distinguished. Stretching down in the direction of the broad valley of the Eden, and converging in the wooded hollow in which lies the village of Crosby Ravensworth, the spire of its church just peeping from out the trees, were the tributary valleys of Oddendale and Crosby Gill. The former, with its grey stone walls and clumps of trees, marking the site where the slated roof and curl of blue smoke showed that some statesman had his home ; the latter, the deep rocky gorge of the Lyvennet as it speeds from its sources on the moor, its sides clothed with natural wood, the representative of larger forests, where the ancient Briton had hunted the stag and boar, and where in later days Sir Lancelot Threlkeld, a local magnate of Tudor times, had his hunting-lodge.

On the south, Ravenstonedale and Tebay Fells closed the view, deeply furrowed by precipitous side-valleys winding far away into the bosom of the hills, and coloured with green and purple and gold under the light and shadow of sun and cloud. Westward over Shap, with its scattered monoliths once forming an avenue and circle, and its ruined abbey, alike companions in decay, the eye, overlooking the intervening valleys of Wet Sleddale and Swindale, passed across the great hollow in which lies Hawes Water to the flat-topped ridge of High Street, relieved at one place by the sharp point of Kidsty Pike. Further on to the north-west was Saddleback, the ancient Blencathra, with Skiddaw just seen beyond it ; and then Carrock Fell, and flatter land carrying the eye along almost
into Scotland.

British Barrows. A Record of the Examination of Sepulcheal mounds in Various Parts of England
By William Greenwell, M.A. F.S.A

Oddendale Cairn I (Cairn(s))

In his 2007 book, Prehistoric Monuments of the Lake District, Tom Clare states that,
in 1972 the author was assured by a resident that he had not built it. However thirty years later the story has changed.

Hardendale Fell (Stone Circle)

This site was indentified by Tom Clare in his excellent 2007 book, Prehistoric Monuments of the Lake District.

Old Man O'Mow (Cairn(s))

At Mow Cop is a rude upright pillar, called the Old Man at Mow, and believed by the country people to have been an idol, once the object of worship. It is needless to add that the British word Maen signifies a stone, and that the prefix " old " or " elder," is merely a Saxon epithet to denote its antiquity.

Druidical Remains in Yorkshire.
J. K. Walker, D.D.
The Gentleman's Magazine Library:
Being a classified collection of the chief contents of The Gentlman's Magazine from 1731 to 1868
Edited by
George Laurence Gomme, F.S.A.

Esslie the Greater (Stone Circle)

One of the three monuments, which is on rising ground close to the farm of West Mulloch, I found in such a dilapidated condition as to render an accurate survey impossible ; but from it I saw another about half a mile further in an oat-field upon lower ground. While I was engaged in measuring it the rumbling sound of thunder beyond the distant hills warned me to be expeditious, and as the storm-clouds rolled over the mountain tops with great rapidity, and rain began to descend, I thought it prudent to quit the exposed open country and seek shelter in a cart-shed of Esslie Farm. For several hours, Louder and louder than mortal gunpowder The heavenly artillery kept crashing and roaring, The lightning kept flashing, the rain too kept pouring,
but long before the storm ceased I was compelled to commence my return journey to Banchory Station, which I reached footsore and drenched to the skin. This was the most severe thunderstorm of the season, and many fatal casualties occurred in Scotland on this day.
The long stone filling up the space between two erect stones of the outer ring, exists both in the West Mulloch and Esslie monuments.

The Rev. W. C. LUKIS, F.S.A.

NOVEMBER 29, 1883, TO JULY 2, 1885-

Tyrebagger (Stone Circle)

August 6. The sixth monument I surveyed is situated in Aberdeenshire about two miles from Dyce Junction, on the line of railway to Inverness, on high ground a short way from some extensive granite quarries. It stands in a clump of trees, and is concealed from view until you are quite close to it. A low wall sweeps round a part of it, and it is a favourite resort of holiday folk. It goes by the name of 'the standing stones of Dyce.' This monument has been more injured than those of Auchincorthie, for the cairn has been entirely removed, and the area has been so excavated that it forms quite a basin. In one part a few stones of an inner ring remain, and are so much overgrown with broom and grass as to be scarcely visible. Its original construction "was evidently of the same character as those already described; and here again we find the enigmatical broad stone in the gap between two lofty erect stones of the outer circle. The broad stone has fallen inwards and rests in an inclined position upon one or two small stones, which probably formed part of the inner ring. The stones of the outer ring are of very unequal heights; the tallest being 9 feet 7 inches and the shortest 3 feet.

The Rev. W. C. LUKIS, F.S.A.

NOVEMBER 29, 1883, TO JULY 2, 1885

Obtrusch (Cairn(s))

This goblin-haunted mound was elevated several feet above the moorland, and was covered with heath. Under this was a great collection of sandstones loosely thrown together, which had been gathered from the neighbouring surface. On removing them, a circle of broader and larger stones appeared set on edge, in number 25, or, allowing for a vacant place, 26. Within this was another circle, composed of smaller stones set edgeways, in number 25 or 26 ; and the centre of the inner space was occupied by a rectangular kist, composed of four flagstones set edgeways. The sides of this cyst pointed east and west and north and south ; the greatest length being from east to west. On arriving at this fortunate result of our labour, our expectations were a little raised as to what might follow. But within the kist were no urns, no bones, no treasures of any kind, except a tail-feather from some farmyard chanticleer. The countrymen said this place of ancient burial had been opened many years ago, and that then gold was found in it. It seemed to us that it must have been recently visited by a fox.

Considering the position of the kist, set with careful attention to the cardinal points; the two circles of stone; the number of these stones, which if completed appeared to be 26; it seemed not unreasonable conjecture, that the construction contained traces of astronomical knowledge, of the solar year, and weekly periods. I dare not confidently affirm this. Was this a relique of an early British chief, or of a later Scandinavian warrior ? for such circles have been raised in Scandinavia and the Orkney Islands by the Northmen, and this is a district which the Northmen colonized. A similar circle of stones occurs at Cloughton near Scarborough.

The Rivers, Mountains and Sea Coast

John Phillips, F.R.S.

High & Low Bridestones Dovedale (Natural Rock Feature)

Bridestones. Picturesque pillars of rock on our moors, particularly near Blakey Topping, at which love and marriage ceremonies were practised in former times, as these rites of the ancient Britons are recorded to have taken place near their cromlechs or altar- stones. Formed by long aqueous and atmospheric action dispersing the softer parts and leaving the harder standing (such being the cause assigned for their appearance), one among the shapes has been likened to a gigantic mush- room, being 30 feet high, 20 feet broad at the top, on a stalk only three feet broad in one part and seven feet in another.

A Glossary of Words used in the Neighbourhood of Whitby.
By F. K. ROBINSON of Whitby.

Taken from
XLV/ 1899.

North Yorkshire

"I the North Riding am for spaciousness renown'd
Our mother Yorkshire's eld'st."

POLY-OLBION. The Works of Michael Drayton, Esq. In four volumes.
London MDCCLIII. Vol. II..

The Devil's Arrows (Standing Stones)

This reference from Rydale and North Yorkshire Antiquities by George Frank published in 1888 echoes Paulus's account from E. Boggs regarding the fate of the fourth stone.

A fourth 'Arrow' originally stood near the central one ...The upper half of this stone is in the grounds of Alborough Manor, the lower portion having being used at Boroughbridge, in building the foundations of 'Peggy Bridge'.

The Boroughbridge Town Council website

The upper section of the fourth stone is claimed to stand in the grounds of Aldborough Manor and the lower part is believed to form part of the bridge which crosses the River Tutt in St. Helena just a few hundred yards away on the route into the town centre. Large pieces of the same millstone grit have turned up in the garden of a house bordering the field in which the enclosure containing the largest arrow stands.

Two large boulders of the same material as the stones have been found in the garden of a house only a hundred yards or so from the line of the stones and may possibly be part of the fourth stone which was broken up by treasure hunters..


A lovely dialect tribute to Thomas Bland.
Published 1887


YE strangers that ramble down't Vale of Lyvennet, To see bonny Nature and breathe the fresh air, Fra the spring at Black Dub a't way down to the Eden There's seines interesting, romantic, and rare.
Westward fra the Dub 'boute a cannon-shot distance There's cromlecks an' cairns full of auld Celtic baynes ; A temple where't Druids sang prayers to the plannets, Set aw arround wi' a circle o' staynes.
An' in times leayter still, when the Romans reayde foray, An' meayde a new wroad as they crossed ouer the fell, May be seen to this day, near the black dub ye find it, An' if you dispute me ga see for yoursel'.
There's many quere places a't way doon the valley, An' Hamelets or toons where the Brittans did dwell ; There's traces o' some to be seen in t' Lang-deayle, But men, farther larn'd, their origin may tell.
Crosby Kirk, of auld standing, next claims oor attention, Wi' awe an' wi' reverence oor minds for to fill ; Flass House is a feature 'at ought to be mentioned, An' Addison's birthplace on Meaburn Hill.
But the main pleayce I wish to point out to your notice Is Reagill, where yance leev'd the fam'd Thomas Bland, An' auld antiquary, cramfull o' queer notions As any you'll find in the length o' the land.
He kent a' the history o' t' world's creation, Fra t' making of Adam to t' birth o' Tom Thumb ; He tell't us the earth's composition was gasses, An' fowak meayde of air seayme as a baloon.
He talk'd about metals being fused by eruption,
An' how they were melted like souder or tin ; He kent aw the strata of rock fra the surface Aw t' way doon to the boiling het fluid within.
He scabbl'd off shells fra the hard rock o' limestone, An' sed they'd been fishes, some thousand years sen ; He was crack'd, that's a cartainty, out of aw question, To think of imposing o' sensible men.
Then sec a collection of rubbish an' kelder, Auld things 'at he tell't us the Brittans yance meayde ; Bits o' spears, meayde o' flint, broken millstones and trinkums, Sec a cargo o' kelder, a decent ship-leayde.
Gang when you would, between sunrise an' setting, You'd find him in't garden, or else in his den, Where he spent aw his time wi' his mell an' his chisel, His paint-brush an' canvas or scetch-book an' pen.
He wad travel ten mile, wi' a sketch-bewke in nap-sack, To draw some auld shield 'at he might wish to see ; An' than fra the dots, cross lines, an' the shap on't, He wad spin oot a yarn of their lang pedigree ;
An' tell who's it was, whether duke, lord, or baron, An' how they behaved when they went a crusade ; Or, if 'twas a she 'at the shield had belanged tul, He could tell ye at yance if sh'd deed an auld maid.
He'd creatures of aw macks stuck up in his garden, Fra a Hippotamus to Whittington's cat ;
Lions, dogs, deevils, wild boars, an' teayme eagles, Beats Wombwell's Managery hollow an' flat.
There's Addison, Caesar, St. George, an' Hugh Miller, Poet Burns, an' lots mair, I forgitten their neayms ; An' busts o' girt men fra aw parts o' the world, An' some in the meun, I dare say, hed their heayms.
In the cauld days o' winter he set on a fire In a grate like a helmet, stuck in a w'hole ; A shield for his shovel, a sword for his poker, And an Indian tomahawk split the girt-cwoal.
He pay'd equal respect to a bewk-larn'd beggar,
A hawker, a squire, a duke, or a lord ; If they talk'd about science or tell't a good stowry He grappled it aw, without missing a word.
Tho' a wreck of the former, 'tis still interesting,
An' the owner will give you admission quite free ; Sea, if you be strangers, don't fear you'll be welcome, If you come up to Reagill, the Garden to see.
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