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The Many Legends Accounting for the Mysterious Trethevy Quoit

The Many Legends Accounting for the Mysterious Trethevy Quoit


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Cornwall, a truly beautiful region in the British Isles, has a distinct regional identity. It is also home to many remarkable stone age monuments, of which Trethevy Quoit is one of the most famous. This well-preserved portal dolmen dates far back to 3500 BC, the Neolithic period, and has a mysterious history.

The History of Trethevy Quoit, Cornwall

Cornwall has been inhabited by people for thousands of years and the dolmen was constructed by a community of Neolithic people who lived in the vicinity. They were likely farmers, pastoralists, or fishermen, and must have had some form of central authority who would have given the instruction to construct the dolmen.

This monument required a lot of resources and a great deal of cooperation. There are similarities between the dolmens in Brittany, France, Wales and Ireland, which may suggest connections with these areas via sea links.

At one time the structure was covered with earth and stones and formed an artificial mound in the area. This dolmen may have been part of a cultural landscape where rituals and ceremonies took place. Excavations of other sites have shown that these structures were used as communal tombs and were possibly associated with cults related to ancestor worship. Because of the soil’s acidity, only a few human bones have been found at Trethevy Quoit. Urns with cremated remains, which were placed in the monuments as late as the Iron Age, have been unearthed at other portal dolmens.

Poulnabrone portal tomb in Burren at sunrise, Ireland ( Patryk Kosmider / Adobe Stock)

It is not known when the site was abandoned, but it may have been revered by local Cornish people until the advent of Christianity. The structure stood at the remote site for hundreds of years and was first recorded in the 16 th century when the back of the monument was enclosed by a wall.

In Cornish mythology , the monument is known as the Giant’s House and was believed to have been created by this fabled race. Other stories connect the stones with the Arthurian legends, believed to have been magically built by Merlin. Some believe that the dolmen marks the site of a battle fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons.

The dolmen was first excavated by archaeologists in the 19 th century, but very few artifacts were found. In 2017, the Quoit was deemed to be at risk because of erosion and farming. However, after some restoration work, it was considered safe.

The Mysteries of Trethevy Quoit

This monument is almost 10-feet-tall (2.7 meters) high and is estimated to weigh up to 20 tons. Trethevy Quoit consists of five standing stones and upon them rests a large, flat stone of a type known as a portal dolmen. The standing slabs overlap and form a chamber, while the rear stone inclines inwards. All that is left of the back wall is a pile of rocks in the chamber.

The capstone or ‘roof’ of the chamber is currently positioned at a steep angle. Whether this is a deliberate design, or a result of soil subsidence, is unknown. A hole drilled into the capstone at some point, along with other holes in the standing stones, were probably for decoration.

There was once an antechamber to the monument, a typical feature of Cornish portal dolmens, but only two of its stones are still standing. A platform that led from the dolmen to an open field was unearthed in recent years and this may have been linked to some ceremonial procession . This spot was likely deemed sacred by Neolithic people as Trethevy Quoit is located on a promontory that overlooks a convergence of streams that are the source of the River Seaton.

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The Hurlers Stone Circle with abandoned tin mine in the background near Minions in Cornwall on Bodmin Moor ( rachel / Adobe Stock)

The Hurlers, a series of three standing stones circles , are situated close by and date from the Bronze Age. The relationship of these stones to the dolmen, if any, is unknown. Both sites are managed by English Heritage.

Visiting Trethevy Quoit in Beautiful Cornwall

The site is located near St Cleer in Cornwall, in the extreme south-west of England. There is a small car park adjacent to the site and the stones are located some distance from the road. This prehistoric monument is located near Bodmin Moor , a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.


Cornwall’s ancient sites, standing stones and burial chambers

There is much that makes Cornwall unique but our ancient history, evidence of which can be seen sprouting majestically and strangely from the earth, sets us apart from many other areas of the nation.

Cornwall&aposs landscape is scattered with megalithic and Celtic sites, some of which predate the Egyptian pyramids. These fascinating remnants include stone circles, quoits, fogous, Bronze Age villages, and holy wells.

Myths and legends surround them - from captive giants to dancing girls who were turned to stone. No visit to Cornwall is complete without feeling the intoxicating power of at least one of these mysterious sites.

There&aposs even a history lesson to be had for the many Cornish people who have not visited all the sites on their doorstep.

There are far too many to mention, but here are 19 must-see locations.

Mên-an-Tol, near Madron

Located approximately three miles northwest of Madron, arguably Cornwall’s most famous ancient stone site is steeped in folklore and tradition. Its name simply means &aposholed stone&apos.

The monument consists of four stones: the iconic circular holed stone, two upright stones and a fallen stone at the foot of the western upright.

The exact age and true purpose of this formation is a mystery, but the Mên-an-Tol is said to possess healing powers that are applied to those who pass through the hole. If you fancy getting pregnant then squeezing through will help, apparently.

You can find the site by walking along the public footpath which passes Ding Dong Mine. If you venture north from the Mên-an-Tol along the track from Boscullow, you will uncover the Mên Scryfa, an early medieval inscribed standing stone.

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Merry Maidens, St Buryan

Folklore has it that this well-known stone circle is the result of the punishment served to dancing maidens who were turned to stone for merrymaking on the Sabbath.

However the site came to be, it&aposs one of the most perfectly circular examples of a stone circle in Cornwall.

The 19 stones stand in a field which lies adjacent to the B3315 road from Newlyn to Treen. This field is accessible from a layby on its western corner.

The Pipers of Boleigh, St Buryan

These are a delightfully named pair of standing stones near the Merry Maidens stone circle.

The two stones stand in separate fields about 90 metres apart and are said to be named in honour of two pipers who were turned to stone for playing music on the Sabbath for the nearby dancing maidens.

A different legend states that the two stones were set up following a 10th-century battle between the Anglo-Saxon English, led by Athelstan, and the Cornish Celts, led by Howel. The Pipers are said to mark the positions of the two opposing leaders.

Lanyon Quoit, Morvah

Residing between Madron and Morvah, Lanyon Quoit is one of Cornwall&aposs most recognised megalithic sites.

The dolmen (a single chamber tomb) is among the county’s most photographed examples of its Neolithic roots but its appearance is much different today than when it was originally erected.

The stones collapsed during a storm in 1815 and were replaced incorrectly when the tomb was restored in 1824. It remains a powerful and impressive location nonetheless.

Chûn Quoit, another well-known dolmen, can be found nearby and is said to retain its capstone “in situ”.

Boscawen-Un, St Buryan

This unusual stone circle is situated not far from both Lanyon Quoit and Merry Maidens.

Also referred to as the Nine Maidens, the circle is notable for its strikingly angular central stone which was intentionally installed in this position for a supposed astronomical alignment and ‘sundial’ effect.

The site can be found a few hundred metres south of the A30 west of Drift, a mile and a half to the north of St Buryan.

The Cheesewring, Bodmin

Bodmin Moor has a wealth of interesting tors and stone monuments scattered about its barren expanse, but The Cheesewring is perhaps the most recognisable.

While science says that the stacked granite boulders are a natural formation, local legend reveals that this is the result of a territorial rock throwing contest between a man and a giant.

A walk around this eastern part of the moor will take you past some intriguing landmarks. Starting at Minions, venture towards the three Neolithic stone circles known as The Hurlers. This will take you up Stowe&aposs Hill to The Cheesewring.

There&aposs plenty to explore in the area, with the engine houses of South Phoenix Mine and Minions Heritage Centre being just a couple of destinations worth taking a look at.

Chysauster, near Penzance

Looked after by English Heritage, Chysauster is one of the best-preserved ancient villages in Britain.

The remains of the stoned-wall houses are fascinating and they are said to have once been home to a close-knit community between the late 1st and 3rd centuries.

The settlement is also home to one of Cornwall&aposs mysterious fogous (underground structures).

Carn Euny, Sancreed

Similar to Chysauster, Carn Euny near Sancreed is an intriguing Iron Age settlement that boasts well preserved stone houses and structures including its own fogou. Sancreed Holy Well is also situated nearby.

Duloe Stone Circle, near Looe

Eight bright white quartzite stones stand in an oval shaped circle near the village of Duloe. It was moved in 1861 due to an intersecting hedge when two of the stones were broken. It was also claimed that a Bronze Age urn full of bones was smashed after being found under one of the stones and allegedly crumbled into the air.

The site inspired the 2006 video game Barrow Hill.

Trippet Stones, Blisland

This stone circle of eight upright and four fallen granite stones is said to be named to represent the ancient belief that the stones were girls punished for “tripping lightly” on the Sabbath. Some people who now visit the site can also be seen “tripping lightly” but that has a whole other meaning.

There is also a nearby circle on Bodmin Moor called the Stripple Stones.

Trethevy Quoit, Bodmin

This striking ancient &aposdolmen&apos burial chamber is likely to have been constructed in the Neolithic period, between 3,700 and 3,300 BC.

The quoit consists of five standing stones with a large granite capstone on top. It&aposs well-preserved and stands 2.7 metres high.

There is a parking area located adjacent to the site and the path is well sign posted.

King Doniert&aposs Stone, the remains of a 9th century Celtic cross, is located approximately 1.4 miles from the site with The Hurlers also nearby.

Castle-an-Dinas, St Columb Major

Situated on the summit of Castle Downs and boasting extensive panoramic views across central Cornwall, Castle-an-Dinas is one of the most imposing and impressive hill forts in the Duchy.

The site is said to have once been the hunting lodge of King Arthur, and there are a few strange tales of a ghostly apparitions springing up in the area.

Dating from around the 3rd to 2nd century BC, Castle-an-Dinas measures 850ft in diameter and sits 700ft above sea level.

The fort is one mile north of the A30 at Goss Moor and is easy to access. Castle-an-Dinas is marked on the road sign at the A39 roundabout at St Columb Major and there is a car park not far from the site.

Halliggye Fogou, St Mawgan

This underground construction is located at the Trelowarren Estate near Helston and consists of a long narrow tunnel which leads to three sectioned chambers.

The original function for fogous is not clear, but this is the largest and best-preserved example of these peculiar Iron Age caves in Cornwall.

St Nectan’s Glen, Tintagel

St Nectan&aposs Glen is a magical area of woodland at Trethevy, near Tintagel. It stretches for approximately one mile along both banks of the Trevillet River.

The highlight of this sacred site is its spectacular 60ft waterfall which cascades through an unusual hole-shaped slate basin.

It is said that Saint Nectan lived in his hermitage above the waterfall in the 6th century and would emerge during stormy weather to ring a bell seven times, warning ships of the nautical perils near Rocky Valley.

It’s a bit of a walk to get there but well worth it when you reach the magical spot.

Rocky Valley, Tintagel

This small valley set within the parish of Tintagel showcases captivating scenery along the Trevillet River to its mouth on the north Cornwall coast.

The valley contains two labyrinth rock carvings that are said by some to date back to the Bronze Age.

Dozmary Pool, Altarnun

This small lake is steeped in Arthurian legend. Excalibur and the Lady of the Lake are said to rest in its waters and King Arthur himself is believed to have met his end nearby.

The location on Bodmin Moor is perfect for hikers, with the summits of Brown Willy and Rough Tor in the area.

Things we really miss in Cornwall

Madron Holy Well, Penzance

There are many &aposholy wells&apos across Cornwall but they can be tricky to find. Located in dense woodland on the moorland approximately a mile north of the village, Madron Well is among the best known.

There is an ancient chapel nearby through which much of the spring water is channelled.

St Michael’s Mount, Mount’s Bay

The most recognisable landmark in Cornwall, St Michael&aposs Mount has a rich history of legend and folklore.

Tales from as far back as 495 AD say that the archangel St Michael would appear above the island to ward fisherman of peril. The legend of Jack the Giant Killer is well documented, and a stone reputed to be the heart of a giant can be seen on the walk up to the castle, where the giant was said to be imprisoned.

It&aposs also a geographical marvel, with visitors being able to walk across to the island during low tide and soak up impressive panoramic views and the exotic gardens.

It is currently hitting the headlines as rumours about the prequel to Game of Thrones being filmed on the far side of the island.

Roche Rock, near St Austell

This iconic stone tower and 15th century chapel was dramatically constructed on the granite outcrop of Roche Rock.

There are various myths behind the history of this foreboding place, but it is most notably associated with the Arthurian doomed love tale of Tristan and Isolde.

The chapel is accessible by a steep ladder and the interior is split into two levels by a further ladder. Well worth a visit.


THE HAUNTED COUNTIES OF THE SOUTH WEST

CORNWALL

From the magnificent splendour of the sea-sprayed cliffs of Land's End, to the windswept wilderness of Bodmin Moor, the villages, castles, houses, pubs, bleak sedges and dark pools of Cornwall are haunted by a plethora of phantoms whose stories are often as fascinating as they are frightening.

DEVON

Devon is a county of contrasts. There is the spectacular coastline with its chain of magnificent cliffs extending from its west coast its north coast. There are sleepy villages set amidst lush, green fields. But there is also the wild splendour of Dartmoor, where chilling tales abound.

SOMERSET

Somerset is as mystical as it is beautiful. From the rolling, green hills of the Quantocks and The Mendips, the awe-inspiring splendour of the Cheddar Gorge, or the subterranean mysteries of the Wookey Hole Caves and the mystical Glastonbury Tor, this is a county to linger in and savour.

DORSET

Dorset boasts a variety of ghosts and mystical locations that can intrigue and terrify in equal measure. From secluded inns to tottering castle ruins, mysterious hill figures to abandoned churches, you'll find plenty here to keep your supernatural antenna buzzing in eager anticipation.

WILTSHIRE

Wiltshire has a long history that is as intriguing as it is mysterious. Stone Circles, such as Stonehenge and Avebury ancient battlefields, sturdy stately homes, romantic ruined castle ruins and ancient tracks combine to help make Wiltshire a truly engaging haunted county.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

With an eclectic mix of haunted locations, such as houses, prisons and woods, Gloucestershire is a county that will keep any ghost hunter busy. After all, not many counties can boast having what are claimed to be England's most haunted village, castle and pub within their boundaries.


HAUNTED BRITAIN AND IRELAND

The Haunted Britain and Ireland site is brought to you by author and leading authority on the UK's ghostly tales, folklore and history, Richard Jones.

Region by region, he will take you in search of the ghosts that roam the spectral landscapes of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and he will provide you with the opportunity to explore and visit the many places where ghosts have been seen.

The site offers a comprehensive listing of British and Irish ghosts. It has been exhaustively researched and provides those who seek the mysterious with an unrivalled resource of true ghost stories, stirring legends and paranormal history.

Whatever the scientific evidence, both for and against, the existence of ghosts, spectral activity continues to form an integral part of our oral tradition. Tales of spooky sightings and other mysterious occurrences, that have been passed down through the generations, possess the ability to captivate even the hardened sceptics amongst us.

Apparitions of tortured monarchs and tragic heroes spurned lovers and spiteful villains - Richard Jones reveals and delights in them all. So enjoy this collections of ghostly tales, and be sure to visit as many of the locations as time allows.


A Thousand Miles of History XXXVI: House of the Ancestors

Our next stop was only about half an hour’s drive from the Templar Church, and the road took us through the silent green of Bodmin Moor. With a long drive still ahead, I restrained myself, albeit barely, from turning aside at every interesting signpost, but I was determined to see one of Cornwall’s finest burial chambers… Trethevy Quoit.

The name, Trethevy, is thought to derive from the old Cornish for ‘place of the graves’. The locals call it the Giant’s House and there are tales of giants playing games with the stones. It has another name too, King Arthur’s Quoit, though I have been unable to find any reason why the legendary monarch should be associated with the place. The area, though, is rich in Arthurian sites, from his birthplace at Tintagel, just a few miles to the west, to King Arthur’s Hall and his Bed on Bodmin Moor… and Dozmary Pool, where the Lady of the Lake gave him Excalibur and to where it was returned on his death.

Since beginning our workshop only six days earlier at Cadbury Castle, one of the main contenders for the site of Arthur’s Camelot, we had been falling over references to King Arthur at every turn. Even at St Michael’s Mount there are tales of him battling a giant. We were beginning to come to the conclusion that there was something we needed to look at in the story… especially when we realised that our next two workshops would also take us to sites associated with the Arthurian tales. In September, we would be visiting a castle which, according to Malory in his Morte D’Arthur, was Lancelot’s Castle of Joyous Guarde, and in December we would see a Round Table… But that was still in the future. For the moment, as we parked the car and headed into the field, we were more interested in his Quoit.

Around five and a half thousand years ago, a community came together to raise a house of the ancestors. The stones stand nine feet tall and are capped with a single slab weighing some twenty tonnes… an incredible feat of engineering by our standards, yet the megalithic builders, who knew the secrets of working with stone, built this and even greater monuments across the whole land.

The Quoit would once have been hidden beneath a mound of earth and stone, of which traces are still visible, forming a ring about twenty feet in diameter. The stones at the entrance to the structure would have been left uncovered, forming a portal to the realm of the ancestors. The Quoit itself is walled with massive uprights, one of which has now fallen into the central chamber that would once have held the bones and cremation urns of our ancestors and theirs. who would act as intermediaries between this world and the Otherworld.

There are many similar dolmens, though this is one of the best in the area and has some rather curious features. Most obvious is the hole deliberately bored through the edge of the capstone. This would have been exposed and was probably used for marking an astronomical event, though without the rest of the monument… which may simply have been another stone or wooden posts, it is impossible to say for certain what it might have been.

Light was used to some effect in many of these ancient places, right across the world from Egyptian Temples to Newgrange in Ireland, marking the passage of the sun like a sundial, or illuminating significant features at astronomical high points of the year. Even now, in the ruined tomb, there is something in the fall of light between the stones that hints at secrets long-forgotten.

There are a series of cup marks carved on one of the stones…eroded now and faint. The uprights seem to be shaped like figures and forms, with faces revealing themselves as you spend time with the stones. One vast figure looks very like one of the moai of Easter Island.

Amongst these shapeshifting stones that would once have been seen only by the dead within the earthen mound, one stone stands out for its angular and smooth appearance, and that is the blocking stone at the entrance. It is a shape we have seen at many other sites…for there are a number of distinctively shaped stones seem to occur over and over again, right across the country and we wonder if there was a particular significance to their form.

Although the portal would have been kept free of earth, the entrance would have been blocked by this huge monolith, too large and too well placed to be easily moved. Perhaps it was not necessary to enter the resting place of the ancestral bones once enough had been laid there? Like charging a battery…

The blocking stone has a unique feature we have never seen before: a rectangular ‘door’ cut away at the bottom, into which another stone fits to seal it. Was it through here that entrance could be gained to lay bones in the tomb? Was this an exit for the spirits of the dead? Or an entrance for those who would keep vigil with the bones of history and knowledge?

Sadly, although its mysteries remain unsolved and its presence remains imposing, Trethevy Quoit is now on the Heritage at Risk register, as erosion, grazing livestock and housing just a few feet away undermine its stability. These houses of the dead are beautiful, magnificent and full of secrets we have yet to unlock. They were places where communities came together, not just for funerary rites, but for the celebrations of the year, where the ancestors were invited to be a part of both the present and the future, not just the past. I would like to think we could at least preserve their stones for our children and our children’s children.

Like an abandoned church, all you may see at first are the tumbled gravestones and the empty altar. Yet although the dead may be laid to rest within its walls, a church is a place for the living. So too are these ancient stones. A ruined church is a sad affair, its empty altar is lightless, its roof no longer echoes back the prayers of the faithful. Yet, spend time within its walls and the shadows begin to whisper, telling the story of its history and touching the heart of its purpose. These ancient stones still whisper too…


The engineering marvel of the Pozzo di San Patrizio

The Pozzo di San Patrizio is an ancient well in Orvieto, Umbria, central Italy, built between 1527 and 1537 at the behest of Pope Clement VII who had taken refuge at Orvieto during the sack of Rome. The cylindrical well plunges down more than 50 metres in a double helix design, which enabled donkeys to carry empty and full water vessels in downward and upward directions without obstruction.

This amazing masterpiece of hydraulic engineering was originally named Pozzo della Rocca (‘Fortress Well’), as it is located close to Albornoz fortress, but was changed to Pozzo di San Patrizio (‘St Patrick’s Well’) in the 19 th century after monks in a nearby convent likened it to medieval legend of St Patrick’s purgatory.

After Rome was sacked in 1527 by renegade troops of the Holy Roman Empire under Charles V, Pope Clement VII fled to Orvieto where he took shelter in the city. Fearing that the city’s water supply would be insufficient in the event of a siege, the Pope commissioned Antonio Sangallo the Younger to build a large well that would ensure an abundant supply in case he should have to ride out another siege.

The architect-engineer Antonio da Sangallo the Younger set about constructing the well which he designed with a central shaft and two spiral ramps in a double helix, accessed by two doors, which allowed mules to carry water vessels down on one side and up on the other. His design was unique at the time there were no other wells like it anywhere in Europe.

The cylindrical well measured 62 metres deep and 13 metres wide. Seventy-two windows provided illumination inside the well, and the steps are gently shelving, allowing them to be negotiated easily by the donkeys. There are 248 steps on each side of the well. At the bottom is a bridge that people could walk on to scoop up water.

Inside St Patrick’s Well. Photo source: BigStockPhotos

The Pozzo di San Patrizio is a work of skilled engineering that was preceded by hydrogeological research in order to identify the most suitable site to reach the clayey layer of the springs and tile part of the walls with bricks to improve their sealing properties. An inscription on the well says: ‘QUOD NATURA MUNIMENTO INVIDERAT INDUSTRIA ADIECIT’ (what nature stinted for provision, application has supplied).

As it turned out, before the well was completed, Pope Clement VII and Charles V reconciled their differences and the town was never besieged. However, the digging continued and in 1537, ten years after work first began, St Patrick’s Well was completed.


Spectacular ancient sites in Cornwall that you must visit

Cornwall&aposs landscape is scattered with ancient and Celtic sites, some of which predate the Egyptian pyramids. These fascinating remnants include stone circles, quoits, and Bronze Age villages, and holy wells.

There are far too many to mention, but here are some of the must-see locations.

The Cheesewring, Bodmin

Bodmin moor has a wealth of interesting tors and stone monuments scattered about its barren expanse, but The Cheesewring is perhaps the most recognisable.

While science says that the stacked granite boulders are a natural formation, local legend reveals that this is the result of a territorial rock throwing contest between man and giant.

A walk around this eastern part of the moor will take you past some intriguing landmarks. Starting at Minions, venture towards the three Neolithic stone circles known as The Hurlers. This will take you up Stowe&aposs Hill to The Cheesewring.

Read More
Related Articles

There&aposs plenty to explore in the area, with the engine houses of South Phoenix Mine and Minions Heritage Centre being just a couple of destinations worth taking a look at.

Mên-an-Tol, Penzance

Located approximately three miles northwest of Madron, this photogenic site is steeped in folklore and tradition. Its name simply means &aposholed stone&apos.

The monument consists of four stones: the iconic circular holed stone two upright stones and a fallen stone at the foot of the western upright.

The exact age and true purpose of this formation is a mystery, but the Mên-an-Tol is said to possess healing powers that are applied to those who pass through the hole.

You can find the site by walking along the public footpath which passes Ding Dong Mine. If you venture north from the Mên-an-Tol along the track from Boscullow, you will uncover the Mên Scryfa, an early medieval inscribed standing stone.

Trethevy Quoit, Bodmin

This striking ancient &aposdolmen&apos burial chamber is likely to have been constructed in the Neolithic period, between 3,700 and 3,300 BC.

The quoit consists of five standing stones surmounted by a large granite capstone. It&aposs well-preserved and stands 2.7 metres high.

There is a parking area located adjacent to the site and the path is well sign posted.

Read More
Related Articles

King Doniert&aposs Stone, the remains of a 9 century Celtic cross, is located approximately 1.4 miles from the site with The Hurlers also being in the vicinity.

Castle-an-Dinas, St Columb Major

Situated on the summit of Castle Downs and boasting extensive panoramic views across central Cornwall, Castle-an-Dinas is one of the most imposing and impressive hill forts in the county.

The site is said to have once been the hunting lodge of King Arthur, and there are a few strange tales of a ghostly apparitions springing up in the area.

Dating from around the 3 to 2 century BCE, Castle-an-Dinas measures 850ft in diameter and rests 700ft above sea level.

The fort is one mile north of the A30 at Goss Moor and is easy to access. Castle-an-Dinas is marked on the road sign at the A39 roundabout at St Columb Major and there is a car park not far from the site.

The Merry Maidens, St Buryan

Folklore has it that this well-known stone circle is the result of the punishment served to dancing maidens who were turned to stone for merrymaking on the Sabbath.

However the site came to be, it&aposs one of the most perfectly circular examples of a stone circle in Cornwall.

The nineteen stones reside in a field which lies adjacent to the B3315 road from Newlyn to Treen. This field is accessible from a layby which sits on its western corner.

Lanyon Quoit, Morvah

Residing between Madron and Morvah, Lanyon Quoit is one of Cornwall&aposs most recognised megalithic sites.

Ironically, the dolmen is among the county&aposs most photographed examples of its Neolithic roots but its appearance is much different today than when it was originally erected.

Read More
Related Articles

The stones collapsed during a storm in 1815 and were replaced incorrectly when the tomb was restored in 1824. It remains a powerful and impressive location nonetheless.

Chûn Quoit, another well-known dolmen, can be found nearby and is said to retain its capstone &aposin situ&apos.

Boscawen-Un, St Buryan

This unusual stone circle is situated not far from both Lanyon Quoit and The Merry Maidens.

Also referred to as the Nine Maidens, the circle is notable for its strikingly angular central stone which was intentionally installed in this position for a supposed astronomical alignment.

The site can be found a few hundred metres south of the A30 west of Drift, a mile and a half to the north of St Buryan.

Halliggye Fogou, Helston

This underground construction is located in Trelowarren Estate and consists of a long narrow tunnel which leads to three sectioned chambers.

The original function for fogous is not clear, but this is the largest and best-preserved example of these peculiar Iron Age caves in Cornwall.

St Nectan&aposs Glen, Tintagel

St Nectan&aposs Glen is a magical area of woodland which rests in Trethevy, near Tintagel. It stretches for approximately one mile along both banks of the Trevillet River.

The highlight of this sacred site is its spectacular 60 foot waterfall which cascades through an unusual hole-shaped slate basin.

Read More
Related Articles

It is said that Saint Nectan lived in his hermitage above the waterfall in the 6 century and would emerge during stormy weather to ring a bell seven times, warning ships of the nautical perils near Rocky Valley.

Dozmary Pool, Altarnun

Dozmary Pool was ranked at number five on the Telegraph&aposs list of &aposBritain&aposs 21 Most Beautiful Lakes&apos.

This small lake is steeped in Arthurian legend. Excalibur and the Lady of the Lake are said to rest in its waters and King Arthur himself is believed to have met his end nearby.

The location on Bodmin Moor is perfect for hikers, with the summits of Brown Willy and Rough Tor in the area.

Madron Holy Well, Penzance

There are many &aposholy wells&apos across Cornwall and they can be tricky to find. Located in dense woodland on the moorland approximately a mile north of Madron, Madron Well is among the most well-known.

There is an ancient chapel nearby through which much of the spring water is channelled.

Chysauster, Penzance

Currently in the care of English Heritage, Chysauster is one of the best-preserved ancient villages in Britain.

The remains of the stoned-wall houses are fascinating and they are said to have once been the home to a close-knit community between the late 1 and 3 centuries.

Read More
Related Articles

The settlement is also home to one of Cornwall&aposs mysterious fogous.

St Michael&aposs Mount, Marazion

The most recognisable landmark in Cornwall, St Michael&aposs Mount has a rich history that is rich in both legend and folklore.

Tales from as far back as 495 AD say that the archangel St Michael would appear above the island to ward fisherman of peril. The legend of Jack the Giant Killer is well documented, and a stone reputed to be the heart of a giant can be seen on the walk up to the castle.

It&aposs also a geographical marvel, with visitors being able to walk across to the island during low tide and soak up impressive panoramic views.

Roche Rock, Roche

This iconic stone tower and 15 century chapel has been dramatically constructed on the granite outcrop of Roche Rock.

There are various myths behind the history of this place, but it is most notably associated with the Arthurian doomed love tale of Tristan and Isolde.

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The chapel is accessible by a steep ladder and the interior is split into two levels by a further ladder.

Carn Euny, Sancreed

Similar to Chysauster, Carn Euny near Sancreed is an intriguing Iron Age settlement that boasts well preserved stone houses and structures including its own fogou. Sancreed Holy Well is also situated nearby.

Rocky Valley, Tintagel

This small valley set within the parish of Tintagel showcases captivating scenery along the Trevillet River to its mouth on the north Cornwall coast.

The valley contains two labyrinth rock carvings that are said by some to date back to the Bronze Age.


The Trethevy Quoit, like other portal tombs of this type, was initially covered by a mound. The remains of the fortifications that can be found indicate a diameter of 6.5 m. The remaining seven stones and the 3.7 m long and 10.5 ton heavy cover plate used to be inside the facility. At the top of the cover plate is a natural hole that may have been used for astronomical observation. The group of horizontal stones consists of an overturned rear wall, two side wall stones that slightly overlap, a front stone and a flanking stone a little further away. The peculiarity of the Cornish portal tombs is that such stones sometimes create and delimit a small, partially closed space in front of the frontal closure. Some stones have hole-like perforations as decorations. The front stone is often referred to as the entrance stone, although most portal tombs cannot move it. The Trevethy Quoit is a rare exception here, because a small, rectangular movable stone on the lower right edge of the front allows access to the burial chamber, which is only rarely opened today. The back of the chamber has collapsed inwards and now forms an elevation inside the chamber. When erected, this stone is about the same height as the front stone, so that in the past the cover plate was apparently not supported by the flank stones, but rested almost horizontally on the front stone and back wall. Then, however, there would have been a considerable gap between the bearing stones and the side walls, through which the soil could have penetrated the burial chamber. It can therefore be assumed that when the rear wall collapsed, the falling cover plate also damaged the flank stones. The interior is 2 m long and 1.5 m wide and today measures 4.6 m at the highest point.

The Trethevy Quoit was first mentioned in 1584 by J. Norden in a topographical and historical representation of Britain, which was not published until 1728. In the 19th century, William Copeland Borlase took a closer look at the megalithic system and made the etchings shown here. He also made initial speculations about the overturned rear wall and the earlier appearance of the quoit. Hugh O'Neill Hencken wrote a first modern presentation in 1932, in which he explained the special features of the antechamber and pointed out parallels to buildings in Brittany . Recent excavations have shown that this type of megalithic complex was built in the Neolithic between 3700 and 3500 BC. BC and have been used as community graves for a long time.


Julian Cope presents Head Heritage


5 shillings! Bet you could get change out of a farthing back then and buy a bag of chips -) Can remember buying ice-creams with little silver thruppenny bits though.

I wasn't going THAT far back LS :-)

Aye, and pennies with Queen Vic on one side and Britannia on t’other. Four gobstoppers for an ha'penny, liquorish whips (don’t ask) and liquorish sticks that’d last a day and a half and leave a trail of chewed fibre behind you that’d stretch back for miles. We even used to put our chewing gum into water overnight. Them were the days, the rot set in when we joined the EU.

The ground beneath our feet is made up of layers upon layers of history, the accumulated evidence of human existence from the millennia of prehistory to the hours of yesterday. These pasts are vertiginous, ever-expanding and engulfing, and it is this dizzying panorama of the vast, tangled mass of what has gone before that Richard Morris sets out to map in Time's Anvil. For Morris, this book is an "expedition" into the past, and as such it is both expansive and singular. But Time's Anvil is also an impassioned history and defence of archaeology, a history of humanity in England, and a heartfelt meditation on transience and mortality.


Quite a good review of this American? book, I suspect a bit like 'Mind in the Cave', anyway the review gives food for thought.

A rather fine book covering lots of sites in the area around Inverness and Loch Ness, includes folkore, "paranormal" stuff, prehistory, sites of historical interest, very readable and basically a narrative gazetteer.

Well worth looking for if you're getting to know the area around Loch Ness (Drew).

The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson - I've read a few of his books now and like them a lot. Gideon Mack is my favourite though. The testament of a faithless minister, centring on his disappearance and reappearance 3 days later. The book starts off with his encounter with a standing stone that has suddenly appeared in the nearby wood. The book makes reference to Robert Kirk and his book 'The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies'. Stones, folklore and meetings with the devil, I can't recommend this enough.

Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner - I was a bit nervous about reading this one, as the legends of Thomas the Rhymer are favourites of mine. It's not the most in depth story and the book doesn't really go anywhere but for me, it's hard to imagine a better novel about Thomas. If you have any interest in the folklore surrounding Thomas the Rhymer, the Eildon Hills near Melrose and his meeting with the Queen of Elfland at the Eildon tree, this book is well worth looking for.

“This excellent and thoughtful book gives a somewhat different explanation of the construction and subsequent history of the prehistoric Trethevy Quoit burial chamber in Cornwall. The author, Roy Goutte, has spent many hours studying the chamber first hand and has come to his own fascinating conclusion as to how the cromlech arrived in its present form. The reader is introduced, step-by-step, to the author’s observations and theories through historical references, photographs, diagrams and several model reconstructions of this Cornish ‘Jewel in the Crown’ structure from the Neolithic (and how it may have originally looked). His findings are thorough and convincing with certain aspects truly ground-breaking it would take an even more thorough investigation to successfully argue against the possibilities he advances.”


Indice

La tomba originale aveva probabilmente un diametro di 6,5 metri. [2]

Il sito venne descritto per la prima volta nel 1584 dall'antiquario John Norden, geometra della regina Elisabetta I [2] [5] [10] [12] , che definì il dolmen "una piccola casa su una collina tra i campi formata da pietre massicce". [5] [10] La testimonianza di Norden con tanto di disegno del sito venne inserita nel manoscritto Speculi Britanniae pars, or a topographical and historical description of Cornwall, by the perambulacion, view and delineacion of John Norden, presentato da Norden nel 1604 a re Giacomo I, manoscritto che fu tuttavia pubblicato soltanto nel 1728 [12] , molti anni dopo la morte dell'autore [2] [12] e che fu acquistato dal British Museum nel 1753. [12]

In seguito, nel corso del XIX secolo, vennero effettuati i primi scavi attorno al sito, che però non riportarono alla luce alcun reperto. [6]

Nel 2016 il sito venne acquisito dal Cornwall Heritage Trust [7] [11] e nel 2017, il dolmen venne ritenuto un monumento a rischio a causa dell'erosione del terreno e dai lavori nei campi circostanti. [6] [7] [11]

Trevethy Quoit si trova su un promontorio della brughiera di Bodmin, che si affaccia sulla confluenza di vari corsi d'acqua che scorrono a sud del fiume Seaton, tra i villaggi di Darite e Tremar. [7] [10] [11]

Il dolmen è costituito da sette pietre [4] alte circa 3 metri [3] [4] e ha una dimensione complessiva di 2x1,5 metri [4] e un peso di circa 20 tonnellate. [6] La struttura è coperta da una pietra della lunghezza di 3,7 metri. [4]

Secondo la leggenda, il dolmen sarebbe opera dei giganti (da qui il nome The Giant House, ovvero "casa dei giganti"). [6] Secondo un'altra leggenda, che lo lega al ciclo arturiano, sarebbe invece stato costruito da Mago Merlino. [6]


Watch the video: Trethevy Quoit, Cornwall. The Giants House. Supersized Dolmen with Hole. Megalithomania (July 2022).


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